Opinion polls suggest Bulgaria
’s pro-Russia opposition candidate Rumen Radev is expected to score a victory in the upcoming presidential run-off.
A survey by Gallup International showed Friday that 51 percent of the voters in the Black Sea state support Radev in the election slated for November 13.
Another opinion poll by Alpha Research gave Radev a 49.6-percent lead over ruling party candidate Tsetska Tsacheva, 58, with 39.1 percent.
The Gallup survey gave parliamentary speaker Tsacheva , who is backed by Prime Minister Boiko Borisov’s centre-right GERB party, 40 percent of the electorate votes.
“Mrs. Tsacheva represents the status quo” while outspoken Radev is seen as an agent of change, analyst Zhivko Georgiev of the Gallup Institute told media.
Radev, a former air force commander hailing from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), is recognized as a pro-Moscow politician.
In the first round of the presidential race on November 6, Radev gained 25.7 percent against Tsacheva’s with 22 percent of the votes.
Bulgarian presidential candidates Rumen Radev (R) and Tsetska Tsacheva shake hands prior to an election debate in Sofia on November 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Bulgaria, once a Russian ally, had been swaying away from Kremlin and getting closer to the European Union under the incumbent government. In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO.
Radev has repeatedly insisted that “being a member of the EU and NATO does not mean that Bulgaria must be an enemy of Russia.”
Bulgaria, which is dependent on Russia for its energy, is culturally more attached to its Black Sea neighbor and the two countries have deep historical and social ties.