Bulgaria’s parliament has accepted the resignation of prime minister Boiko Borisov’s government, which stepped down after a series of nationwide protests over high energy prices turned violent.
The move opens the way for an early general election.
President Rosen Plevneliev will now ask parliament’s three biggest parties if they want to form a government to rule until
an election due in July.
But both Borisov’s GERB party and the main opposition Socialists have said they have no interest in participating in a caretaker cabinet, and analysts say that means Plevneliev could schedule an election by as early as April.
“Only a parliamentary election can show the will of Bulgarians,” outgoing deputy prime minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told the chamber before the vote.
Borisov stepped down after more than a week days of nationwide protests against high power prices and falling living standards. Tens of thousands of people staged daily rallies across the country, shouting “Mafia!”, “Garbage!” and “Resign!”
Demonstrations continued after the announcement on Wednesday night, when around 2,000 people marched towards parliament, separated by policemen from a group of Borisov supporters who called for his return to power.
The mass demonstrations were sparked by soaring electricity prices but quickly changes focus onto wider frustration with high unemployment, low salaries, corruption and power monopolies.
The country is the poorest in the European Union, and unions say the unemployment rate is up to 18 percent.
Violent clashes between protesters and police on Monday and Tuesday left 28 people injured.
“I will not participate in a government where the police beat people up or where threats for protests replace political dialogue,” Borisov told parliament on Wednesday.