Bulgaria's centre-right GERB emerged as the winner of national elections on Monday, but faced a struggle to form a government suggesting no early end to the political stalemate that has gripped the European Union's poorest country.
The party led by Boiko Borisov, which according to preliminary results won 31.4 percent of Sunday's vote, will have first chance to form an administration.
But other parties said they were reluctant to cooperate with GERB, which resigned from government in February mired in allegations of corruption, and the second-place Socialists said they would look to ensure Borisov did not return to power.
Widespread disenchantment with the voting process was reflected in turnout figures of just 53 percent, the lowest for any parliamentary election since the fall of Communism in 1989.
Many of Bulgaria's 7.3 million people are unsatisfied about low living standards and graft, and it shows the risk of trouble in fringe states as the euro zone focuses on its own woes.