The race between the conservatives and liberals is neck and neck as votes are counted in Bulgaria’s fifth election in two years, while a pro-Russian party has made gains.
The country is deeply divided over the war in Ukraine, which has compounded the political crisis that has engulfed the poor Balkan nation since 2020.
The country is historically and culturally close to Russia, but it is a member of the European Union and NATO.
The early projections suggest that the conservative GERB of former long-time premier Boyko Borisov is ahead with 24-26%, just slightly ahead of a coalition led by liberal Kiril Petkov at 23-24%.
The ultra-nationalist Vazrazhdane party, which defends the Kremlin’s war, has gained 13-14% of the vote, up from the 10% it won in the last ballot in October, according to the projections. The official results are expected during the week.
Earlier in the day, Borisov said he wanted to “find a solution to the crisis” of repeating elections. “With this terrible war in Ukraine — this partition of the world — we must very clearly stay with the democratic world,” he said.