Early exit polls suggest that former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov holds the lead in the Bulgarian elections.
It would mean a rapid return to power as he resigned from office following mass protests against corruption and living standards in February.
Though he appears to be in the lead, he does not have enough votes to win a comfortable majority. Agencies reported a 31% lead for Borisov’s GERB party over 27% for the socialist opposition.
The elections have been marred by allegations of vote rigging as 350,000 extra ballot papers were discovered in a printing press owned by a GERB party member. They denied all wrongdoing. Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev called it an “unprecedented conspiracy against democracy”.
Bulgaria is Europe’s poorest country and struggles to supply water and electricity to its 7.3 million citizens.
With a voter turnout expected at 50% and allegations of fraud, it looks unlikely that elections will solve Bulgaria’s economic woes.