News / Europe

Bulgaria Sets Early Elections After Government Quits

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (2nd R) before the start of his meeting with leaders of political parties in Sofia, February 22, 2013.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (2nd R) before the start of his meeting with leaders of political parties in Sofia, February 22, 2013.
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.

"This is the only possible and reasonable move," said Kantcho Stoychev, from pollster Gallup International. "If the president appoints a politically-linked cabinet, the people's anger will fall on him and may endanger the civil peace."

GERB is running neck-and-neck with the Socialists in opinion polls. With both at around 22 to 23 percent support, neither is expected to win a majority in the upcoming vote.

A hung parliament could lead to the type of policy stalemate that has stalled reforms in neighboring Romania and Greece.

Since a sharp contraction in 2009, Bulgaria has failed to resume the rapid growth needed to catch up with EU partners. Living standards are about 45 percent of the bloc average.

On Friday, dozens of people protested against Czech power distributor CEZ in the northeastern city of Vratsa. Borisov promised an eight percent electricity bill cut from March and said the regulator would begin to revoke CEZ's licence.

The energy regulator said a price cut is possible from April at the earliest and indicated room for compromise with CEZ.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid