Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Bulgaria taps experience for interim government
By Tsvetelia Tsolova
SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's president appointed respected diplomat Marin Raikov interim prime minister on Tuesday and he pledged to retain fiscal discipline with a cabinet of professionals that aims to shore up confidence rattled by nationwide protests.
Rosen Plevneliev's choice of independent figures is designed to show protesters there has been a clean break with a political class they view as corrupt and unable to improve living standards in the European Union's poorest member.
The president named Raikov, a former deputy foreign minister and current ambassador to France, as interim prime minister, confirming an earlier Reuters report. Kalin Hristov, a central bank deputy governor, will run the finance ministry.
By appointing experts who are not members of political parties, Plevneliev is also trying to reassure the EU and foreign investors that Bulgaria is in safe hands, will maintain tight fiscal policy and not cave into demands to spend more.
"While we follow strictly the 2013 budget framework, we will take steps to improve the incomes of pensioners and the poorest," Raikov told reporters after he was named. "We will not allow fiscal policy that can endanger the currency board."
Bulgarians have demonstrated across the country over the last month, forcing the rightist government of Boiko Borisov to resign. Three people died after setting themselves on fire.
The size of demonstrations has fallen sharply this week and protest leaders have failed to form a new single group that could stand in a May election, indicating the current main parties will also dominate the next parliament.
The interim government will serve until an early election scheduled for May 12.
(Additional reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Jon Hemming)
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