With exit polls showing that Bulgaria’s ruling party GERB presidential candidate Rossen Plevneliev will face off in a second round against the socialists’ Ivailo Kalfin on October 30 2011, the big question was for whom other political forces would declare.
Ahmed Dogan, whose Movement for Rights and Freedoms did not nominate its own presidential candidate, was declining to be drawn in doorstep interviews as he arrived on the October 23 election night at the election centre.
Dogan, whose party served in the previous governing coalitions and which is supported in the main by Bulgarians of ethnic Turkish descent, has a stable electorate that could sway an election – and yet, according to polling agencies – that electorate was divided in its decisions at the first round.
According to polling agency MBMD, Dogan’s electorate gave 38 per cent of its support to Kalfin, 20 per cent to Plevneliev and 15 per cent to Meglena Kouneva, the candidate of a non-party committee who is now clearly out of the presidential race.
Dogan was evasive when questioned about for whom his party would declare, but had some acerbic comments about the ruling party, describing comments that he had heard from GERB after the end of voting as “pure demagoguery” and “populist”.
Dogan hinted at seeing Plevneliev as inappropriate for the office of head of state, alluding to the GERB candidate’s background in the private sector and saying that constitutionally, the President has no role in the formation of economic policy but instead represents the country abroad, as the MRF leader put it.