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

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.