Bulgaria's incumbent president Rumen Radev won nearly half of the votes in Sunday's presidential election but fell short of securing an outright victory, and will face his main rival Anastas Gerdzhikov in a runoff on November 21, exit polls showed.
Radev is backed by 49.1%, comfortably ahead of university professor Anastas Gerdzhikov, who came second with 26.5% support, an exit poll by Alpha Research polling agency quoted by public television BNT showed. According to an exit poll by Sofia-based Gallup International Balkan, 49.3% voted for Radev and 25% opted for Gerdzhikov.
Radev has been supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and recently formed anti-graft parties We Continue the Change and Rise Up.BG. For his part, Gerdjikov has the support of the centre-right coalition of GERB and Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) led by former prime minister Boyko Borissov.
Support for Mustafa Karadayi, the candidate of predominantly ethnic Turks' Movement for Rights and Freedoms, stands at 9.8%, according to the Alpha Research. Gallup International Balkan sees it at 8.9%.
According to both polling agencies, Lozan Panov, chairman of the Supreme Court of Cassation, won a little over 4% of the votes, followed by Kostadin Kostadinov leader of nationalist Revival party with a little over 3%.
Sunday's presidential elections were held simltanously with elections for parliament, the country's third general vote this year.
According to exit polls, the GERB-UDF coalition and We Continue The Change are locked in a tight race, as six or seven parties are expected to cross the 4% threshold to enter the 240-seat National Assembly.