World Media on Bulgarian Elections: Anti-Corruption Candidate Rumen Radev Won a Second Term
Rumen Radev, who ran his campaign on an anti-corruption platform, won a second term as president of Bulgaria after defeating Anastas Gerzhikov by 66 percent to 32 percent, world media reported.
According to Reuters, the Bulgarian head of state has gained popularity with his open support for the mass anti-corruption protests against former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in 2020 and with the appointment of caretaker governments, which have revealed dubious deals with state money of the former government. The authoritative agency also reminds that "two Harvard-educated entrepreneurs, appointed by Radev as caretaker ministers in May, have since formed the" We Continue the Change" party, which won Bulgaria's third national election this year on November 14, promising zero corruption.
Radio Free Europe points out that the president of Bulgaria has largely ceremonial functions, but "Radev has changed his role and is active in the fight against corruption in the poorest country in the EU." The media reminds that “Radev is a fierce rival of Borissov and backed months of protests against the former prime minister's 10-year rule, which began in the summer of 2020. Borissov eventually stepped down as prime minister in April over growing anti-corruption protests against him and his GERB party, accusing Radev of dividing the nation. Borissov's rule and months of political stalemate coincided with rising energy prices and the COVID-19 pandemic in Bulgaria, which has the lowest vaccination rate in the EU. The second interim government, appointed by Radev after the leading parties failed another attempt at forming a government as a result of the July elections, has been sharply criticized for failing to tackle the epidemic. Both interim governments won public support for the revelations of corruption, fraud and mismanagement under Borissov, which gave impetus to Radev. A member of both NATO and the European Union, Bulgaria has been plagued by mass corruption since the overthrow of communism more than three decades ago. It is routinely at the bottom of the EU for perceptions of corruption and media freedom."
Deutsche Welle notes, among other things, that "in the past, Radev has tried to maintain close relations with Russia, but seems to have reversed the notion that he is a pro-Russian candidate."
Euronews writes that Radev is among Boyko Borissov's biggest critics and has attracted many Bulgarians who are desperate and tired from politicians they consider corrupt. The media also said that Radev's "We Continue Change" party now hopes to find coalition partners to end the six-month political stalemate. Bulgaria is facing the worst political crisis since the end of communism three decades ago.
The European edition of Politico notes that "Radev was a major supporter of the anti-corruption protests launched last year against Borissov, who was eventually forced to step down last spring amid a crisis of the rule of law after dominating the country's politics more for a decade."
Al Jazeera notes that Radev is a former NATO fighter pilot who studied for some time at the US Air Force College in Alabama and promised to keep Bulgaria's place in the Western Alliance if re-elected, but at the same time the media notes that he "he insists on pragmatic ties with Russia and says sanctions against Moscow must be lifted."
The Anatolian Agency notes that in Turkey 90,000 votes were cast in Bulgaria's elections a week ago, and only about 23,000 in the second round of the presidential election, which were cast in 58 polling stations in Turkey.
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