Borisov's pro-EU party beats Socialists in Bulgaria's snap election

Earlier in the day, shortly after the results of exit polls were released, BSP leader Kornelia Ninova admitted the defeat of her party and congratulated the rival GERB party on winning the elections, stressing that BSP will not participate in talks on forming a coalition, if invited.

With about 96.7 percent of the votes counted, GERB had 32.6 percent of the votes, the central election commission said.

Borisov's Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party won 33 percent of the vote, projections from polling institutes showed.

Dost, a new Turkish party which unlike the main MDL won open backing from Ankara, much to the annoyance of Sofia and nationalists, appeared to have missed the four-percent minimum for seats in parliament.

GERB leader Boiko Borisov, 57, whose resignation late a year ago triggered the snap election, was due to chair a meeting of his party leadership later in the day.

The socialist BSP is set to come in second with 28 percent, and the United Patriot coalition of radical nationalist parties share third place with the Turkish DPS, with both parties around 9 percent.

However, the BSP, which has already dismissed any possibility of forming a government with GERB, will still be a power in parliament, having nearly doubled its number of seats. It has been unstable for years, this being the third parliamentary election in four years.

"I hope we can ensure the rapid formation of a government that responds to the wishes of the people and to the grave global situation", Borisov said late Sunday.

Bulgarians headed to the polls for the third time in four years for a snap election that was expected to test the nation's divided loyalties between Russian Federation and the European Union.

Antonio Lopez-Isturiz, secretary-general of the European People's Party, who came to the event to support GERB, confirmed that Borissov was tested by the economic crisis and a heavy migrant influx, "which he managed to control and emerge stronger".

Just after voting on Sunday, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said he hoped the parties would show "common sense and national responsibility", and that the new government would be formed as quickly as possible "at the cost of compromises that are inevitable in this situation".

Mr Borisov, 57, resigned as prime minister after his party lost the November 2016 presidential election. The nationalists said they will stay at the border until Sunday's election to prevent some 50,000 voters from Turkey from entering the country. A role in government for the United Patriots may also further worsen Bulgaria's strained relations with neighbouring Turkey.

Roumen Radev, the current president of Bulgaria, has responded to the claims, made by the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which he accused Sofia of putting pressure on the members of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria in the wake of the Sundays parliamentary elections.

  • Leroy Wright