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news 14 Mar 13

New Bulgaria Govt Takes Office Amid Protests

As a new interim government under Marin Raykov took office, protesters have continued to rally in Sofia, albeit on a smaller scale than before.

Victor Kotsev
BIRN
Sofia

“We are not a party government, but we are not an anti-party government either,” Bulgaria's new Prime Minister, Marin Raykov, said, after praising the outgoing Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

He resigned last month following unprecedented street protests against high utility bills, monopolies, and widespread poverty.

Raykov vowed to avoid populist measures but promised to stimulate economic growth by looking for reserves within the current budget.

In his last speech as Prime Minister, Borisov said that his government had accomplished many things, but had made many mistakes.

He advised Raykov not to take advice from parties, including his own party, GERB, and cautioned that “those who speak of nationalization and the abrogation of contracts will place the country in such isolation that more people will leave Bulgaria and nothing good will be in store.”

The inauguration of the new government drew largely negative reactions from the protesters, many of whom remain suspicious of the president as a former member of GERB's government.

Two of the protest leaders, Miroslav Paskalev and Ivan Bonev, denounced the new cabinet on Darik Radio as “the B-team of GERB, which will prepare the elections so as to win them.”

The different protest groups have so far failed to unite over whether they should participate in the elections and over basic demands.

In the last days, the size of the demonstrations has also waned to an average of several hundred people, and only half a dozen tents graced the protest camp next to the parliament on Wednesday.

Meanwhile it was not immediately clear whether the self-immolation of Dimitar Dimitrov, a smith from a nearby village, was directly related to the protests.

There have been four such incidents in recent weeks. After the death of Plamen Goranov in the Black Sea city of Varna, the recently inaugurated Bulgarian Orthodox Church Patriarch Neofit urged protesters not to take their lives.


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