Reuters International

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov arrives for a group photo during an extraordinary Visegrad Group summit aimed at resolving the migration crisis, in Prague, Czech Republic, February 15, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny


SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Monday that his government would resign if the ruling centre-right GERB party candidate loses the first round of the presidential election next month.

"At the first round, if GERB loses these elections, that same evening we resign, because it is then parties are really competing, and after that they are seeking support...," Borisov told reporters.

On Sunday, GERB nominated parliament speaker Tsetska Tsacheva to run for president.

"For us, the vote is at the first round, and if we lose, that evening you will get the resignation of the whole government," Borisov, whose minority government came to power in 2014, said.

A run-off vote will be held if any of the presidential candidates fails to secure more than half of votes in the first round of the election on November 6.

More than a dozen candidates are running for president and a run-off is expected, analysts say. Tsacheva is seen as a clear favourite for the post while Socialist candidate Rumen Radev, a former air force commander, the centre-left's Ivailo Kalfin, a former labour and foreign minister, and Tatiana Doncheva, leader of a left-wing faction, are considered as most likely contenders.

The election for the largely ceremonial post will indicate the level of support for the centre-right government ahead of general elections in 2018.

Two years after coming to office, GERB is still the most popular political faction in Bulgaria - a European Union and NATO member. It is credited with stabilizing the economy and ensuring steady inflows of EU aid, recent opinion polls showed.

Pollsters, however, register increased activity among leftist voters, frustrated with slower pace of increasing the living standards in the EU's poorest country and rampant corruption.

(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


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