The Rector of Sofia University, Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov, has been nominated as a presidential candidate for the independent Initiative Committee. The party of ex-PM Boyko Borissov, GERB, will support him.
“I agreed to be nominated as a candidate for President of Bulgaria by an initiative committee because I believe that in this difficult moment of division and opposition, I have the necessary qualities to embody the unity of the nation in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. I am not a politician, I do not think, and I do not speak as a politician, but I believe that each of us is obliged at some point to repay Bulgaria for everything he has received from his homeland and compatriots. I expect support from all parties and all Bulgarian citizens,” he said, quoted by BTA.
Prof. Gerdjikov is expected to be the main rival of Rumen Radev, who will run for a second term in the presidential elections, scheduled for 14 November.
Radev was also nominated by the Initiative Committee and is backed by the Bulgarian socialist party, ‘There is Such a People’ – the protest party that won the elections on 11 July but failed to form a government. The new centrist political fraction “We Are Continuing the Change”, which was established recently by the popular former interim economy and finance ministers, is also backing the candidacy of Radev.
Prof. Gerdjikov seems to be the ideal presidential candidate for GERB. He cannot be accused of being part of the political status quo because his biography is not related to politics, except for a short expert stay in the Sakskoburggotski’s cabinet.
GERB will thus protect the candidate from being tied to criticism aimed at Borissov’s government. Gerdjikov’s civic profile also allows for the expansion of GERB’s electoral core, which has so far been estimated at around 21-22%. At the same time, if the rector is to lose to Radev, neither he nor GERB will suffer any political damage.
A few days ago, GERB leader Boyko Borissov said that GERB’s candidate would be announced at the last minute. Borissov himself was challenged to run as a presidential candidate by Radev, but it seems the ex-PM will not do so.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)