Bulgaria's Presidential Candidates to Clash in Decisive TV Debate
The two remaining presidential contenders in Bulgaria will appear on a televised debate on Thursday evening, three days out of the presidential runoff.
Tsetska Tsacheva, nominated by Bulgaria's main ruling GERB party and backed by junior coalition partner Reformist Bloc, will face Rumen Radev, supported by the biggest opposition party BSP. The latter won the biggest number of votes in the first round last Sunday.
The 90-minute debate, to be aired by the Bulgarian National Television at 20:30, is expected to weigh in as voters are facing possible political chaos after the election, with GERB leader and Prime Minister Boyko Borisov vowing to step down if Tsacheva loses.
"The outcome of the battle for the Presidency will depend on the messages that the two candidates will convey during the second debate, Daniel Smilov, a Bulgarian political scientist, Programme Director at the Centre for Liberal Strategies, has told Focus Radio.
"In the first debate, Rumen Radev looked somewhat like an outsider about whom little is know and it was expected that the debate would be won by Tsacheva. The sheer fact that didn't happen gave a very serious stimulus to Radev's campaign," Smilov has explained, arguing the Thursday event is Tsacheva's "second chance."
The debate will include questions on foreign policy, defense, energy, judicial reform and presidencial competences. The BNT, Bulgaria's public broadcaster, has said it will not include a time slot for questions from the audience to give candidates a maximum opportunity to make their case on the issues discussed.
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