Bulgaria conservatives in resounding local vote win
SOFIA - Agence France-Presse
Bulgarians cast their vote for municipal, mayoral elections and national referendum at a polling station in Buhovo, near Sofia, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Centre right GERB party, appeared confident of retaining the mayoralties of Sofia and Bulgaria’s other large cities and perhaps even expanding its reach in other municipalities. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)Bulgaria's ruling conservative party of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov scored a resounding victory in local elections this weekend, winning mayoral seats in 22 out of the 27 major cities, official results showed on Nov. 2.
Borisov's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party won the mayor's seat in the second largest city of Plovdiv in the second-round ballot on Nov. 1, a week after securing the capital, Sofia.
Analysts say the victory cements GERB's power in the lead-up to the next presidential elections in 2016.
Borisov is at the helm of an uneasy four-party coalition cabinet after failing to secure a majority in general elections in 2014.
The vote was a total disappointment for the opposition Socialists, who failed to get a single mayoral seat in a major city for the first time in Bulgaria's post-communist history.
The liberal Turkish minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, now in opposition, won only one mayoral seat in the southern city of Kardzhali.
The remaining four big city mayor seats went to independent candidates and mayors backed by the small right-wing Reformist Bloc, GERB's junior partner in the cabinet.
The complete official results are due to be announced by Nov. 4.
Analysts said the win was partly down to Borisov's firm stance on the migrant crisis, which helped Bulgaria stay on the sidelines of the major refugee flow across the Balkans.