August 6, 2014 / 10:54 AM / 4 years ago

Bulgaria's interim PM promises to restore public trust

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s newly appointed Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki promised on Wednesday to restore public trust in political institutions in the short time that his caretaker government is in office.

Bulgaria's interim Prime Minister Georgi Bliznashki (L) smiles next to outgoing Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski during a ceremony in Sofia August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

A law professor and former Socialist party lawmaker, Bliznashki was named on Tuesday to head an interim government until the Balkan state holds a snap election on Oct. 5, following the resignation of a Socialist-led coalition government in July.

Bliznashki also announced Bulgaria’s nomination of Kristalina Georgieva, currently the EU Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner, to serve in the next European Commission as the EU’s foreign policy chief, a decision first reported by Reuters on Tuesday.

Bulgaria has been dogged by political instability in the last two years, and in 2013 saw protests by tens of thousands of Bulgarians, angry about corruption and cosy ties between big businesses and politicians.

Bliznashki was among a group of lecturers who backed a student occupation of Sofia University as part of the wider anti-corruption protests against the then government.

“We need to restore citizen society’s trust in the political institutions,” Bliznashki told reporters. “Our caretaker government will do its best so that the elections are held with the active participation of the civil society.”

President Rosen Plevneliev dissolved parliament on Wednesday and appointed his interim cabinet, which has inherited a raft of problems from its predecessor, including how to deal with the fallout from the country’s worst banking crisis since the 1990s.

Plevneliev told Reuters in an interview that his government would push to put Bulgarian banks under European supervision.

But he said no decision on what to do with Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), which was shut following a run on deposits in June, could be taken until an audit into the bank’s books was finished around mid October.

On Bulgaria’s nomination of Georgieva to be EU foreign policy chief, Bliznashki said it had the support of a number of other countries, without naming them.

“If she succeeds in occupying the post, this will be a big success for Bulgaria’s foreign policy, for Bulgaria’s diplomacy,” he said at his first press conference since taking office.

“A number of countries back Kristalina Georgieva,” he added.

EU governments must nominate candidates by the end of July to serve on the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union which proposes and enforces laws affecting the bloc’s 500 million citizens.

Incoming president of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will decide who gets which portfolio. [ID:nL6N0PY1YW}

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Susan Fenton

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