A woman is in critical condition after setting herself on fire outside the Bulgarian president's office in Sofia.

The 38-year-old got out of a car in front of the building and set her alight after pouring a flammable liquid over her hair and body, according to a Mail Online report.

She suffered 90% burns although bystanders managed to put the fire out and save her life.

Television footage showed the woman in flames in central Sofia before her burned body was carried on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance by firefighters.

The incident coincided with discussions by President Rosen Plevneliev to form a new government after an inconclusive election on 5 October. The centre-right GERB party won the vote, but lack a majority. They are holding talks to form a minority government.

"The woman, a 38-year-old, was taken to hospital. She is in very serious condition," an interior ministry spokeswoman said.

A doctor at an emergency hospital in Sofia told reporters that the woman is known locally as Lidia Petrova. He also added that she has a record of mental illness.

"We are continuing to fight for her but burns like these are incompatible with life," doctor Ognyan Hadzhiyski said in an AFP report.

Bulgaria has had a turbulent year, marked by mass demonstrations against high prices, poverty and corruption. The protests culminated in bringing down the centre-right GERB government.

In the spring of 2013, seven people set themselves alight in various parts of the country to protest against low living standards and alleged corruption of Bulgaria's top politicians.

Lidia Petrova's motives for self-immolation currently remains unknown.

Bulgaria, the poorest country in the European Union. Seven years after joining the EU, 25% of the population lives below the poverty line and a recent poll had 69% of Bulgarians considering their country's situation as "unbearable".