SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria will hold its next presidential election on Nov. 6, parliament decided on Friday, setting the date for what's considered an open race for the predominantly ceremonial office.
In May, President Rosen Plevneliev said he will not run for a second term in October's election. He announced his decision just days after he decided to challenge parliament's rejection of his veto on a change to voting rules.
Plevneliev, elected president in 2011 on the ticket of the ruling centre-right GERB party after winning a run-off against a Socialist opponent, had won popular acclaim as construction minister for a highway building project.
He played a key role in helping to guide Bulgaria through political turbulence, twice having to name caretaker cabinets in 2013 and 2014.
None of the biggest parties has yet to announce its candidate for the elections.
Bulgaria will also hold a three-question referendum, proposed by popular TV host Slavi Trifonov, on Nov. 6. The proposal had been backed by 572,650 valid signatures, well above the threshold of 400,000 required to hold a referendum initiated by citizens.
The questions, which will feature in the referendum, are related to the introduction of compulsory voting, the introduction of majority electoral system and cutting the state subsidy paid to political parties and coalitions to 1 lev ($0.5670) for each valid vote they win in elections.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Larry King