Bulgarian Ruling Party Picks Speaker to Run in Presidential Race

  • Gerb names Tsetska Tsacheva as presidential candidate
  • Premier Borissov says election is vote of confidence in Gerb

Bulgaria’s Gerb, the party of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, nominated Tsetska Tsacheva, the parliament speaker, to run for president in the Nov. 6 election in the Balkan country.

President Rosen Plevneliev, elected on the ticket of Gerb in 2011, said he won’t run for re-election after his term in office ends in January 2017. The president, whose powers are largely ceremonial, is elected in a direct ballot with a minimum 50 percent of the votes, according to the constitution. Opposition socialists named Rumen Radev, a former Air Force commander.

“Tsacheva is an experienced lawyer, parliamentarian, well-prepared to deal with Bulgarian institutions and defend Bulgaria’s authority abroad,” Borissov told reporters in Sofia on Sunday. “It’s time to have a mother of the nation after many fathers, for a change.”

The European Union’s poorest country by per-capita output is trying to bring living standards up to EU levels and keep its economy growing as the bloc faces numerous crises, from a record migrant influx to economic unpredictability following the U.K.’s decision to leave the union. Borissov’s government seeks to join the ERM-2 pre-euro exchange rate mechanism, though it hasn’t officially applied yet.

Borissov, who returned to power after winning snap elections in 2014, said the presidential election is a vote of confidence in his party. Gerb has the support of 24 percent of voters, trailed by the Socialists with 16 percent, according to a survey by Alpha Research pollster conducted Sept. 9-15 among 1,026 people. It gave no margin of error.

Tsacheva, a 58-year-old lawyer, served as Bulgaria’s first female parliament speaker during Gerb’s first term in power in 2009-2013, and was reappointed in 2014. She’ll run with Plamen Manushev as vice president, a 62-year-old lawmaker, vice admiral and a former Navy Commander, Borissov said.

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