SOFIA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarians went to polls on Sunday to vote in the country's early parliamentary elections, with opinion polls predicting victory for the center-right GERB party or the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
As many as 12,081 polling stations were opened across the country at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and are due to close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), the Central Election Commission said. At the same time, 371 more ballot boxes are available in 70 countries for Bulgarians living abroad.
More than 6.8 million voters are eligible to elect 240 lawmakers from 4,680 candidates from 11 political parties and nine coalitions.
Only parties and coalitions that receive no less than 4 percent of the votes will enter the parliament. The votes cast for the others will be distributed proportionally among the qualified parties and coalitions.
Exit polls will be announced immediately after polls close, and the official results are expected on Thursday.
Kolyo Kolev, director of Mediana Polling Agency, in an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday predicted that 28.6 percent voters would support the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and 26.6 percent would back the GERB party. He said the margin of error of his prediction was within 3 percent.
Meanwhile, about 8-9 percent of the ballots will go to the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the United Patriots, while Volya party would take some 8.5 percent, Kolev said.
Two other players -- the Reformist Bloc-People's Voice coalition and the ABV-Movement 21 coalition -- also had the chance to enter the parliament, Kolev said.
Direct BSP-GERB coalition for now was impossible and any other double coalition was not sufficient, so it would be extremely difficult to form a government, he said.
The elections were scheduled after the GERB party-led coalition cabinet resigned in mid-November last year, and the parliamentary parties failed to form a new cabinet.