Partial results from Bulgaria’s presidential election show that a pro-Russian candidate who is backed by the Socialist Party has won the first-round ballot that was held on November 6.
But support for Rumen Radev, a reservist military general and former commander of the Bulgarian Air Force, fell short of the 50 percent majority needed to win the presidency outright in the first round.
With 95 percent of the first-round votes counted, results on November 7 showed the 53-year-old Radev had about 25.7 percent of the vote.
Center-right candidate Tsetska Tsacheva, who had been expected to narrowly win the first round, had support from about 22 percent of voters.
Radev ran as an independent candidate but was considered the de facto candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party -- the successor of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
Radev has called for an end to European Union sanctions against Russia and for Bulgaria to revive its economic and political ties with Moscow, its former ally.
Bulgaria is now a member of the EU and NATO. Bulgaria's presidency is a largely ceremonial post but can influence policy decisions.
The second-round runoff vote between Radev and Tsacheva is to be on November 13.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AP