SOFIA, Bulgaria

Exit polls in Bulgaria showed that Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party won Sunday’s general elections.

According to the Alpha Research exit poll broadcast by the Bulgarian National Television (BNT), seven political parties and coalitions passed the 4% election threshold.

The poll results showed that Borisov’s GERB party received 25.7 % of the votes, while the main opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) became the second party with 17.6% votes.

Led by showman Slavi Trifonov, There Is Such A People (ITN) received 15.5% of the votes, while the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, majority of which are Turks, received 11% votes.

The right-wing Democratic Bulgaria, left-wing coalition of Stand up! Mafia out!, and far-right Bulgarian National Movement (VMRO) led by Krasimir Karakachanov, defense minister of the Borisov government, entered the parliament.

Voters in Bulgaria went to the polls on Sunday for the country’s 11th parliamentary elections since the overthrow of communist dictator Todor Zhivkov in 1989.

Some 6.3 million eligible voters, including around 850,000 Turks and Muslims, voted to elect members of the 240-seat National Assembly, the country’s unicameral parliament, from 22 political parties and eight coalitions.

Sunday’s vote was the first regular parliamentary election since 2009, following repeated snap polls.

The elections hold special significance for Bulgaria’s Muslim and Turkish population, as they served as a chance for the centrist Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) party to regain power.

The party, formed at the start of Bulgaria’s journey toward democracy, has a majority of Turks among its members and has played a key role in the country’s politics for over three decades.

The MRF has been in opposition since the GERB formed a coalition government with the ultra-nationalist United Patriots (OP) alliance in 2017.

Bulgaria’s Turkish and Muslim population has traditionally voted for the MRF.

Borisov’s GERB party also wooed Turks and Muslims in the country, but the OP alliance based its electoral campaign to a great extent on hostility against the minority communities.

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