Bulgarian populist formation There Is Such a People (TISP) overtook the centre-right coalition of GERB and the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) in Sunday's snap general election, whose inconclusive results threaten to leave the country in a political stalemate, latest preliminary official results showed on Monday.
TISP, led by former TV host Slavi Trifonov, won 23.91% of the votes against 23.69% for the GERB-UDF coalition led by three-times prime minister Boyko Borissov, according to data by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) based on 98.92% of the votes counted.
CEC results released earlier in the day gave GERB-UDF a lead of 23.91% versus 23.66% for TISP.
Four other parties cross the 4% threshold for entry into parliament.
The Bulgarian Socialist Party, which was GERB's main opposition in the previous parliament, won 13.51% support, followed by the anti-status quo Democratic Bulgaria coalition with 12.56%. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which is drawing support mainly among Bulgarian ethnic Turks and Muslims, received 10.66% backing. Rise Up, Thugs Out! led by ex-ombudsman Maya Manolova has 5.03% support.
Earlier on Monday, Trifonov said that TISP will propose a minority government led by former economy minister and deputy prime minister Nikolay Vasilev.
TISP will not form a coalition with the other anti-status quo parties, but will come up with its own cabinet lineup instead, Trifonov said, as seen in a video file published on his Facebook profile.
The other anti-establishment parties, neither of which has enough support to form a government on its own, have still not commented officially if they will back the cabinet proposed by TISP.
They have repeatedly said, however, that a coalition with the UDF-GERB is not on the agenda.
Commenting on the election results late on Sunday, GERB vice chairman and former deputy prime Tomislav Donchev said, "Being in opposition is also an honest and dignified way to uphold your principles."
Former prime minister and GERB leader Borissov has made no comment on Sunday's elections so far.
In May, Bulgarian president Rumen Radev dissolved parliament and called snap elections for July 11, after none of the three biggest political formations that entered the National Assembly after the April 4 regular vote - GERB-UDF, TISP and the Socialists, failed to assemble a government coalition. A total of six political parties entered parliament after the April vote, as neither of them had enough seats to govern on its own.