New Bulgarian president takes oath of office

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Bulgaria's new president, Rumen Radev, has taken his oath of office, preparing the way for him to formally take over the post from Rosen Plevneliev on Sunday.

Radev, who is the country's fifth democratically elected president, was sworn in at a ceremony in Parliament on Thursday together with Vice-president Iliana Yotova.

The 53-year-old former chief of the Bulgarian Air Force defeated the ruling center-right party's candidate in a November election, triggering an early parliamentary vote to be held in the spring.

Radev, who ran on the ticket of the opposition Socialist party, said in his address to Parliament that he will work for accelerating the economy and improving social systems. Bulgaria, a Balkan country of 7.2 people which joined the European Union a decade ago, remains the poorest member of the 28-nation bloc.