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Bulgaria: Socialists Set To Win Municipal Elections

Sofia, 26 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The former communist Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) is set to win today's municipal elections beating the center-right government of Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski (pictured). According to exit polls, the Socialists had won 32 percent of the votes for municipal councils.

The conservative opposition Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) won 21 percent and Saxecoburggotski's National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) had taken only 11 percent of the vote. They said the NDSV's coalition partner in the national government, the Movement for Rights and Freedom -- mainly representing Bulgaria's 800,000 ethnic Turks -- had polled 9 percent.

The municipal elections may be an indicator of how Bulgarians will vote in general elections in 2005, in which the BSP is hoping to return to power at the national level.

The exit polls say that less than 40 percent of voters turned out.