World

Bulgarians vote for new parliament in hope to ease Russia's grip on energy supplies

  • A woman passes in front pre-election posters of the nationalists and pro-Russian party "Atacka" (Attack)) in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

    A woman passes in front pre-election posters of the nationalists and pro-Russian party "Atacka" (Attack)) in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)  (The Associated Press)

  • A pre-election poster is seen on a pole as a Roma woman arranges her carpets, on a street in the Roma neighborhood in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

    A pre-election poster is seen on a pole as a Roma woman arranges her carpets, on a street in the Roma neighborhood in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man looks at pre-election posters of the Bulgarian Socialist's party in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

    A man looks at pre-election posters of the Bulgarian Socialist's party in Sofia, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Bulgarians are voting Sunday in early parliamentary elections that will determine whether the country decides to continue with the construction of a controversial Russian gas pipeline, a project the European Union opposes due to the added leverage it would give the Kremlin over Europe’s energy market. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)  (The Associated Press)

Bulgarians are voting in a parliamentary election hoping a new government will end the political stalemate, revive the economy, solve a severe banking crisis, and find ways to ease Moscow's grip on the country's energy supplies.

Opinion surveys predict the biggest vote winner will be the center-right GERB party led by a former prime minister, Boyko Borisov, but it will fall short of a majority.

The 55-year-old could face an uphill battle in building a coalition government which would fuel instability in a country already on a downward economic spiral.

Bulgaria, a nation of 7.3 million — the poorest in the European Union, is struggling with corruption and a widespread disillusionment with the governing elite that is expected to result in a low turnout.