Prime Minister Boyko Borissov will have the first shot at trying to assemble a coalition government but faces a struggle after his center-right GERB party only won 25.7 percent of the vote in Bulgariaâ€™s election on Sunday, according to an exit poll released on state TV.
The poll on Bulgarian National Television conducted by Alpha Research showed that Borissov will be hard pressed to unite a highly fragmented electoral landscape and remain leader.
The Socialists came in second place with 17.6 percent but were closely followed by a new party called There is Such a People, led by TV talk-show host Slavi Trifonov.
The kingmaking Turkish party took 11 percent of ballots cast, while the nationalist VMRO party, which has been instrumental in Bulgariaâ€™s effective block on North Macedonia beginning EU membership talks, won 4 percent.
Buoyed by a summer of anti-corruption protests that rocked Borissovâ€™s government last year, the Democratic Bulgaria party, which was a leader of the demonstrations, won 10.4 percent. Another grouping created by the anti-corruption movement, Rise Up, Out with the Crooks, won 4.2 percent.
Any alliance between Borissov and the Turkish party could prove inflammatory as they were the two focal points of much of the protestersâ€™ anger last year.