The main ruling party's presidential candidate Tsetska Tsacheva won the biggest share of the vote in two Turkish cities with a high concentration of expats, electoral statistics show.
Her results are a blow to ex-PM Plamen Oresharski, who was endorsed by the ethnic Turk-dominated Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), the third-largest party in Bulgaria which has managed to mobilize expat vote in Turkey to its advantage for decades.
Tsacheva, however, got the official (albeit unwanted) support of DOST, a splinter party whose core members quit the DPS after its leader Lyutvi Mestan (then head of the DPS) was expelled for siding with Turkey in its spat with Moscow late last year.
In the first round of the presidential election, Tsacheva won in Bursa, getting 3259 votes, while Oresharski received 2821 votes.
She garnered 1292 votes in Izmir, defeating Oresharski who got only 639 votes, a partial count shows. In Edirne, partial statistics reveal the two are running neck and neck, with 193 for Oresharski.
Oresharski's overall results in Turkey (15 000 ballots) and in Istanbul in particular are better than those of Tsacheva who mustered 12 000 votes. A detailed breakdown ofacross Turkey is due later this week.
However, the figures come as DOST has been showing intentions to drain much of the DPS's expat electorate.
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