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Bulgaria's Socialists Win Elections, Not Majority

Prime Minister Saxecoburggotski (file photo) 27 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The former communist Socialists have emerged from Bulgaria's parliamentary elections as the biggest party, but it looks as though they will have some difficult coalition building to secure a governing majority.

With over 98 percent of the vote counted, the Socialist Party is leading with just over 31 percent. The center-right party of outgoing Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski garnered nearly 20 percent.

The Muslim-minority Movement for Rights and Freedoms came in third with some 12 percent of the vote.

Informal coalition talks are expected to start over the next few days. Bulgaria's parties will be seeking to avoid extended squabbling in order to secure accession to the European Union as planned in 2007.