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Bulgaria appoints caretaker gov’t until elections

August 5, 2014

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest member, moved Tuesday to quell a deep political crisis by appointing a law professor as interim prime minister until national elections in October.

Georgi Bliznashki will lead a caretaker government whose main task will be to restore stability in a nation shaken by monthlong anti-government protests and a banking debacle that fueled mistrust in public institutions.

Bliznashki is a former Socialist lawmaker and top Constitutional law expert. He won popularity after he was expelled from the governing Socialist Party over his fierce criticism of its policies.

On Tuesday, he vowed that his Cabinet will ensure fair and transparent elections and will also “improve Bulgaria’s image it the EU and NATO.”

President Rosen Plevneliev, who announced the appointment, said he will dissolve the legislature on Wednesday and set elections for Oct. 5.

The caretaker government will replace the embattled left-leaning coalition which resigned last month a year into its four-year term. It lost parliamentary support after a poor showing by the Socialist Party in May European Parliament elections.

Plevneliev has been at odds with the outgoing Socialist-led government over its economic and fiscal policies. “The caretaker government will not seek revenge but will tell the truth and will not conceal the real condition of the country,” he said.

He said one of the urgent priorities of the caretaker government was Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank, the country’s fourth-biggest lender, which was hit by a run on deposits and shut down by the Central Bank in June. The outgoing parliament failed to adopt measures to rescue the bank, leaving uncertainty about whether depositors and bondholders will be protected.

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