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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Communists Suffer Defeat in Bulgaria

SOFIA -- Bulgaria's ruling former-communists suffered the worst defeat of their six-year history in weekend presidential elections, official preliminary results showed Monday.

Frustrated by falling living standards and worried about looming food and fuel shortages, the 6.75 million voters of this ex-Soviet satellite gave opposition candidate Petar Stoyanov a clear -- if not decisive -- victory.

Stoyanov was leading with 43.65 percent of the vote, according to the electoral commission, with Socialist rival Ivan Marazov trailing in second with 27.07 percent.

Final results are due on Wednesday.

Since neither gained an absolute majority, the two front-runners face a run-off Nov. 3. The outcome of Bulgaria's second presidential election since the fall of the communist regime in 1989 will depend, candidates agree, on the 22 percent of voters who cast their ballots for third-placed candidate George Ganchev.

Stoyanov has hailed the result as a big change in Bulgarian voting patterns and told reporters Ganchev's supporters would now swing behind his Union of Democratic Forces.

"The vote shows a new majority is being formed," he told his triumphant supporters on Sunday night.

, which Stoyanov has predicted he will win