MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti) - Early parliamentary elections are being held on October 5 in Bulgaria, Focus News Agency reported Sunday.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) spokesperson, Tsvetozar Tomov, told Focus News Agency that all polling stations opened on time and added that Bulgarian citizens have the opportunity to vote in 60 countries.
More than 11,000 polling stations opened in the country at 6:00 a.m. local time (03:00 GMT) in addition to 428 abroad. Some 6.9 million voters are expected to participate.
The decision to hold early elections was made among criticism by the opposition which has repeatedly given a vote of no-confidence.
According to Reuters, the ballot includes 18 parties and seven coalition associations. The voting will be monitored by 40 observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The results of the exit-poll are scheduled to be announced at the end of the election at 7:00 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT) with official results to be released by the middle of next week.
In July, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski of the Socialist Party announced his resignation after the opposition, which gained in Parliament elections, blamed Oresharski for the country's ruin after its worst banking crisis in 17 years.
According to opinion surveys, the biggest vote winner is predicted to be center-right GERB party led by a former prime minister, Boyko Borisov, who says he would go through with the debated South Stream pipeline under European Union (EU) approval. Meanwhile, the Socialist Party claims they will go through with the pipeline aimed to transport gas from Russia through the Black Sea and into Bulgaria regardless of the EU, according to the Associated Press. Should the project go through, Russia's Gazprom will operate the pipeline and sell the gas transported through it.