SOFIA -- Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has pledged to restore democracy and stamp out rampant corruption at a ceremony swearing him in for a second term.
"There is an anti-mafia consensus in Bulgaria," Radev said in an address to the National Assembly on January 19.
"From now on, the state should not be ruled through a screen, under the table, on the phone, or behind the scenes. Corruption must be crushed in order for us to survive as a state and as a society," he added.
The 58-year-old Radev, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, took about two-thirds of the vote in a November 21 runoff to win a second term.
While Bulgaria’s presidency is largely ceremonial, Radev has transformed the role and been active in the struggle against corruption in the EU's poorest country.
A member of both NATO and the European Union, Bulgaria has been plagued by rampant corruption since overthrowing communism more than three decades ago. It routinely comes in at the bottom of the EU for perceptions of corruption and media freedom.
The president also played a dominant role in the country's recent political crisis, which saw a political deadlock result in three parliamentary elections last year.