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Bulgaria prime minister resigns as opposition wins presidency

Outgoing Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (photo by AFP)

Bulgaria’s pro-West Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has resigned following the electoral loss of the ruling party’s favored candidate in the country’s presidential polls.

People had gone to the polls in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday to choose between Rumen Radev, who enjoys the backing of the Socialist opposition and is perceived as pro-Russia, and the ruling party’s candidate, Tsetska Tsacheva.

With the 99.3 percent of the ballots counted on Monday, Radev was leading with 59.4 percent against 36.2 by Tsacheva.

In the first round of the election, on November 6, Radev had won over 25 percent of the votes compared with Tsacheva’s nearly 22 percent.

The premier had promised to resign in case Radev won the Sunday showdown.

A street vendor hides her face as she sells clothes in front of electoral posters of now-President-elect Rumen Radev, in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 11, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The Bulgarian public has been raging at widespread graft and poverty, which remains rife in the country despite reforms promised by the now-outgoing center-right government.

“The results clearly show that the ruling coalition no longer holds the majority,” the premier said on Sunday evening. “I apologize to those who supported us. I thought I was doing the right thing.”

Radev told state TV on Sunday evening, “It’s a victory for all Bulgarian people. Democracy has beaten apathy and fear today.”

Bulgaria joined the European Union (EU) a decade ago. It is the most impoverished member of the 28-nation bloc.

Many Bulgarians feel a cultural and historical attachment to Russia, however. And the country is dependent on Moscow for energy.

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