Bulgarians vote on Sunday in a closely-fought election, with the centre-right GERB party challenged for power by Socialists who say they will improve ties with Russia even if it means upsetting the country’s European Union partners. Opinion polls put the GERB party of former prime minister Boiko Borisov, 57, only narrowly ahead of the Socialists, who have seen their popularity rise since the candidate they backed, Rumen Radev, won Bulgaria’s presidency in November. Borisov resigned in the wake of Radev’s victory, triggering Bulgaria’s third parliamentary election in just four years.
While Bulgaria historically has had strong ties with Moscow, Borisov’s GERB party is strongly pro-EU and has supported the bloc’s sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.
The Socialists, led by 47-year-old Kornelia Ninova, have vowed to vote against continuing the sanctions, posing another potential headache for the EU as it grapples with Britain’s departure, the rise of right-wing populists and the future shape of the bloc.
Full Article: Snap election to test Bulgaria’s divided loyalties.