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New Bulgaria PM promises stability in EU's poorest country

08 november 2014, 12:45
0

 Bulgaria's new Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said Friday he hoped to restore stability to the EU's poorest country as his new centre-right minority government, the third in less than two years, won parliamentary approval, AFP reports.

"With the mandate of my right-wing GERB party, we have formed a pro-European, reformist government... that will work to guarantee stability," Borisov told parliament before the 136-97 vote.

Borisov made clear that tough days were ahead, highlighting economic stagnation, blocked EU funding, poverty and delayed reforms in key sectors such as healthcare.

A former bodyguard, firefighter and police chief, Borisov, 55, was prime minister between 2009 and February 2013 when he stepped down during mass nationwide protests about poverty and corruption.

Last winter, when sharp rises in energy bills left many unable to pay, eight people died after setting themselves on fire in public places. There were two new self-immolations this week.

The subsequent technocrat government backed by the Socialists and the Turkish minority party lasted barely a year, resigning this July and precipitating yet more elections in October.

On Thursday Borisov signed a coalition agreement with the Reformist Bloc party, giving the government only 107 seats in the 240-seat parliament, but it can also rely on support from two other parties.

Seven years after joining the EU, Bulgaria remains the bloc's poorest member with a recent Eurostat study showing that half the population lived below the poverty line or in permanent risk of poverty.

Political analyst Daniel Smilov questioned the cabinet's capacity to conduct reforms with the lack of stable support in parliament and said it "risks to focus on merely clinging to power".

Another analyst, Antony Galabov predicted that Borisov will not be able to hold to power for the whole four-year mandate and will last "until the local elections in (October or November of) 2015 or maybe a year longer."


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