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Exit polls show no clear winner in Bulgarian national election

In this file photo taken on November 11, 2021, a woman walks past an election poster of Ivaylo Mirchev of Democratic Bulgaria and the Bulgarian President Rumen Radev in Sofia, prior the country's parliamentary and presidential elections on November 14, 2021.

No clear winner emerged in Bulgaria's parliamentary election, the third held this year, exit polls showed on Sunday, with the center-right GERB party of former premier Boyko Borissov ahead in three surveys and a new centrist group leading in another.

Alpha Research's exit poll showed GERB narrowly leading the election with 24.8%, while Gallup International saw the new faction, We Continue The Change, coming first with 25.7%.

The other exit polls showed GERB leading with about 23.5%-24.7% of the vote.

The close poll results underscore deep political divisions after a decade of Borissov's rule. They coincide with a rise in coronavirus cases, high energy costs and anger at widespread corruption in Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member.

In the presidential vote also held on Sunday, incumbent Rumen Radev, a harsh critic of Borissov, was seen winning around 49% support in the first-round vote, two exit polls showed.

A person casts vote at a polling station, during parliamentary and presidential elections, in Sofia, Bulgaria, on November 14, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Even if official results confirm GERB as the largest party, with no obvious allies in parliament, its chances of forging a ruling coalition are slim, political observers say.

The new faction may be better-positioned to forge a ruling coalition with the support of likely partners in two small anti-graft groupings and the Socialists, thereby ending a prolonged political impasse in the Balkan country.

Inconclusive elections in April and July failed to produce a functioning government.

(Source: Reuters)

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