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Bulgaria’s center-right party leads in both national and European elections

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SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria’s center-right GERB party led by former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has received most votes in the country’s parliamentary election but will need at least two partners to form a governing coalition.

The country’s sixth vote for the National Assembly in three years was held Sunday parallel with European Parliament elections. Both votes were marked by apathy that kept turnout at a record low of about 30%.

The results produced one more deeply fragmented parliament, which does not offer many options for restoring political stability in the European Union’s poorest member country. Many observers suggest that the most likely scenario is another snap parliamentary election later this year.

With 64% of the votes counted, the GERB party received 23.7%, followed by the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms party, which surprisingly came in second with 15.9%, slightly ahead of the pro-Western reformist bloc led by the We Continue the Change party with 15.1%.

Four other parties also appear to have gained seats in the 240-seat chamber, according to the latest results by the election commission.

The ultra-nationalist Vazrazhdane party, which opposes any action against Russia in its war against Ukraine, came in fourth with 14.3% of the vote and will likely send for the first time three representatives to the European Parliament.

The Socialist party came in fifth with 6.9%, followed by the There is Such People party, led by a popular TV entertainer, with 6.3% and a newly formed radical party Velichie with 4.8%.

The first six parties will share the 17 seats allocated to Bulgaria in the European Parliament, the electoral commission said.