- - Sunday, October 23, 2011


Exit poll shows candidates face runoff

SOFIA — Bulgaria’s presidential election will go to a runoff because none of the candidates garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, according to an exit poll.

Bulgaria’s economic woes have been the key campaign issue, with the opposition accusing incumbents of stalling key reforms.

Besides the vote for a new president, heated mayoral battles took place in many of the 264 municipalities.

Nearly 40 percent of the votes Sunday were cast for center-right presidential candidate Rosen Plevneliev against about 30 percent for socialist contender Ivailo Kalfin, according to results from an exit poll conducted by the Alpha Research agency.

A runoff will be held Oct. 30 because none of the candidates garnered more than 50 percent.

Most power in Bulgaria rests with the prime minister and parliament, but the president leads the armed forces and can veto legislation and sign international treaties.

With an unprecedented decision, the Central Election Commission extended by one hour the time for voting, saying there were still many voters lined up at polling stations.

The move was sharply criticized by opposition politicians who think it was an attempt by the incumbents to manipulate the vote. They did not elaborate but said they could contest the vote.

Voter turnout was at more than 50 percent, the election commission said.


Pope names 3 new saints; man disrupts Mass

Pope Benedict XVI named three new saints for the Catholic Church during a Mass on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square that was disrupted by a man who climbed out onto the upper colonnade of the square and burned a Bible.

Vatican gendarmes, a bishop and the pope’s own bodyguard talked the man back from the edge of the colonnade after he shouted, “Pope, where is Christ?” in English and threw the burned Bible to the crowd below.

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