Early election for Bulgaria after government quits

Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:13pm EST
 

By Tsvetelia Tsolova

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's president will appoint a caretaker government ahead of a parliamentary election by mid-May after protests toppled austerity-minded Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, the president said on Friday.

Wednesday's resignation by Borisov's rightist government has failed to quell anger in the European Union's poorest country over high utility bills and protesters gathered on Friday evening in the capital Sofia and other cities.

President Rosen Plevneliev said major political parties - including Borisov's GERB and their rivals the Socialists - declined the chance to form a new government and polls will be brought forward from the previously planned date in July.

"We are heading towards an interim government. We have agreed that the possible timeline for next elections will be the end of April until the middle of May," Plevneliev told reporters after consultation with political parties.

Frustration at low living standards led to bloody protests this month. Many in the Black Sea state of 7.3 million are angry Borisov failed to honor 2009 election pledges to cut corruption and reform inefficient healthcare and education systems.

The prime minister, a former bodyguard of late Soviet-era dictator Todor Zhivkov, ceded to pressure and his administration became the latest to fall in Europe's four-year-old debt crisis.

The president said he will appoint a technocratic caretaker government to focus on financial stability and free elections.

The outgoing parliament should work to change the energy law to cut electricity prices and defuse public anger, he said.   Continued...

 
Bulgaria's President Rosen Plevneliev speaks during a joint news conference with Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov (not pictured) in Sofia February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov