Former Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borisov says he is willing to take "all risks" to form a new government, after his conservatives appear to have won Sunday's parliamentary election.
Exit polls give his GERB party about 33 percent of the vote, while the main rival Socialists will take about 15 percent.
But no party is expected to win enough votes to govern by itself, meaning that Borisov likely will have to enter into coalition talks.
Bulgaria is one of the European Union's poorest countries - wracked by corruption, a slow economy and a population torn between loyalty to the West and Russia.
Borisov was prime minister from 2009 until he resigned last year in favor of the Socialists.
That government collapsed in July following a banking scandal, forcing early elections.