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SOFIA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarians went to polls on Sunday to vote in the country's early parliamentary elections, with opinion polls predicting victory for the center-right GERB party or the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

 

As many as 12,081 polling stations were opened across the country at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) and are due to close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), the Central Election Commission said. At the same time, 371 more ballot boxes are available in 70 countries for Bulgarians living abroad.

 

More than 6.8 million voters are eligible to elect 240 lawmakers from 4,680 candidates from 11 political parties and nine coalitions.

 

Only parties and coalitions that receive no less than 4 percent of the votes will enter the parliament. The votes cast for the others will be distributed proportionally among the qualified parties and coalitions.

 

Exit polls will be announced immediately after polls close, and the official results are expected on Thursday.

 

Kolyo Kolev, director of Mediana Polling Agency, in an interview with Xinhua on Tuesday predicted that 28.6 percent voters would support the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and 26.6 percent would back the GERB party. He said the margin of error of his prediction was within 3 percent.

 

Meanwhile, about 8-9 percent of the ballots will go to the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and the United Patriots, while Volya party would take some 8.5 percent, Kolev said.

 

Two other players -- the Reformist Bloc-People's Voice coalition and the ABV-Movement 21 coalition -- also had the chance to enter the parliament, Kolev said.

 

Direct BSP-GERB coalition for now was impossible and any other double coalition was not sufficient, so it would be extremely difficult to form a government, he said.

 

The elections were scheduled after the GERB party-led coalition cabinet resigned in mid-November last year, and the parliamentary parties failed to form a new cabinet.

The third Shanghai International Debutante Ball tries to set a tone for China's nouveaux riches seeking luxury lifestyles. Gao Erqiang China Daily

The chandeliers were turned off Cheap Nike Air Max 95 Online , and the candles were lit. The champagne was bubbling, and the multi-layered cake towered on the trolley. The Rolls-Royce drove up, delivering 12 young ladies pampered in exquisite white gowns and high-bunned hair, ready to be "crowned", at the third Shanghai International Debutante Ball, held in mid-January in the Shanghai Peninsula Hotel.

 

Daughters from the most wealthy and influential families in the country had expected to be invited to the city's perhaps most prestigious social event. Young women from less privileged families were glued to the media and social networks Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Online , eager to find out about the dresses, the tiaras and the hairstyles of the selected "debutantes" at the ball.

 

Zhou Caici, also known as Vivian Chow Wong, is the founder and organizer of the Shanghai version of the British high-society event introduced by King George III in 1780. For the past three years, she has managed to find domestic couture tailors, food caterers and PR teams for "her ball" to set a tone for China's nouveaux riches seeking the "essential luxury lifestyle".

 

Young gentleman escorts have become a staple "import" at the event.

 

Of the 25 boys who have attended the balls - some have returned for two or even all three - only five are ethnically Chinese Cheap Nike Air Max Online , and none are Chinese nationals.

 

"It just happened this way, certainly not by design," says Zhou, who says that not many Chinese boys "have white-tie culture" today.

 

Zhou's criteria for escorts include good family background, private or British "public school" education, good looks and possession of white-tie (tail suit) Cheap Air Max 95 Online , or at lease a black-tie tuxedo. One rule that has changed is the age of the escorts, with older boys being preferred as "younger ones tend to want to 'party' too much", as Zhou put it.

 

Trevor Lai, a Canadian-born-Chinese now based in Shanghai, who has become a "veteran escort" for the ball, provides other reasons for the absence of his local buddies.

 

"Young Chinese are not often thrust under a spotlight Cheap Air Max 90 Online , especially at a young age. So the idea of being thrust to an event like this is foreign to them, in many cases, and not necessarily as exciting as in Western culture," says Lai, who started his own animation company in Shanghai two years ago, and has been the host of an online talk show.

 

"In many cases Cheap Air Max Online , Chinese people would not be the first to volunteer to present in a group, or to do public speaking. It takes time," says Lai, whose background and experience have made him more outgoing.

 

Escorts at the ball are not allowed to tell their ages "out of respect for the ball", he says.

 

And the attractions of the ball, apart from nice food Cheap Nike Air Max 95 Sale , good wine and well-dressed girls, that keep luring presentable young men from all over the world to the annual event are many.

 

"The ball in Shanghai is very young," says Aubin Dupree, a US captain who now lives in London. Three out of his five trips to China are exclusively for the ball, although the descendant of a well-off family in Boston has attended to events like this a lot back in London.

 

"In England, it's been happening for hundreds of years. There are always so many traditions and rules. While in Shanghai Cheap Nike Air Max 90 Sale , Vivian (the organizer) can do anything. She is able to improve and try new thingssuch as??? I've sent query to writer early this morning. It's young and fresh," he says.

 

Lai, for his part, thinks the ball is still "very important" because it "builds character" in a lot of different ways that iPhone apps and video chatting on computers - today's widely popular routes for young people to be "social" - cannot.

 

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