Bulgaria to hold early parliamentary elections within 4 months

Bulgarian party leaders have agreed to hold early parliamentary elections within four months, a move that should ease political tensions in the European Union's poorest member state.

President Rosen Plevneliev said after an emergency meeting on Tuesday that party leaders set a date for the election sometime between Sept. 28 and Oct. 12, with the exact date set in the next few days.

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 Socialist-led coalition is one year into a four-year term and controls exactly half of the 240 seats in parliament, which has been a serious hurdle for imposing needed reforms.