Beleaguered Bulgaria to hold early elections

President sets May 12 as date for parliamentary vote, as political crisis threatens country's economic stability.
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2013 11:14
Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, left, resigned last week following protests against high electricity prices [AFP]

Bulgaria will hold an early election on May 12, Rosen Plevneliev, the country's president has said, as the government seeks a way out of a political crisis that could undermine the Balkan country's economic stability.

The announcement on Thursday came after Prime Minister Boiko Borisov resigned last week following nationwide protests against high electricity prices, and plans to cut prices and revoke the distribution licence of Czech utility CEZ, which could deter other investors.

The European Union's poorest country has kept its debt and deficit low to maintain confidence in a currency pegged to the euro, introduced in 1997 after mass protests against hyperinflation toppled a leftist government.

But demonstrations by tens of thousands of Bulgarians have already forced some concessions, and whoever wins the election will be under considerable pressure to spend and raise living standards that are less than half the EU average.

"I believe that the necessary key changes in the laws should be decided by a new parliament. The decision is to hold
elections," Plevneliev told a packed session of parliament.

The average wage in the country is just 400 euros a month and pension less than half that. Electricity prices - although among the EU's lowest - therefore bite deep, particularly in winter when many people use it to heat their homes.

All major Bulgarian parties have said they do not want to form a government in the current parliament.


Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.