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Bulgaria to hold early parliamentary elections on Oct. 5


SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgarian party leaders have agreed to hold early parliamentary elections on October 5, in an effort to overcome a political stalemate in the European Union's poorest member state.

Socialist Party leader Sergei Stanishev said after talks on Friday that the leaders of the main political parties have agreed on the date which is to be formally announced by the country's president.

The left-leaning governing coalition agreed to the snap poll after the Socialist Party placed a distant second in European Parliament elections last month. The poor showing underscored the depth of Bulgaria's months-long political crisis.

The government is one year into a four-year term and is backed by exactly half of the 240 members of parliament, which has been a serious hurdle for imposing needed reforms.

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