Violent protests force out government in Bulgaria, the EU's poorest nation
Wednesday 20 February 2013
Bulgaria's government resigned today after days of violent protests fuelled by outrage over rising energy costs, corruption and a general economic decline in what is already the European Union's poorest nation.
Tens of thousands of Bulgarians had turned out in cities across this nation of 7.3 million people since Sunday in protests. They accused their leaders of having ties to crime and demanded that the government resign. Many chanted "Mafia!"
The worst of the violence came late Tuesday in Sofia, the capital, when protesters clashed with police in riot gear, leaving 15 protesters injured.
Just hours later, the center-right government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said it would heed the will of the people.
"Our power was handed to us by the people, today we are handing it back to them," Borisov told lawmakers in Parliament before formally submitting the resignation of his Cabinet on Wednesday.
Parliament speaker Tsetska Tsacheva said legislators will vote on the resignation Thursday, though that appears to be largely a formality.
The move comes as the center-right government is losing public support in the wake of the country's worst economic downturn in a decade and ahead of general elections in July. The resignation means that early elections will be likely be held in April or May.
Tens of thousands of protesters across the country hit the streets over the weekend to protest rising electricity and heating bills. Some threw eggs and tomatoes at government buildings in Sofia. Some also burned their utility bills in public, accusing the government of failing to improve their falling living standards and demanding the expulsion of the three foreign-controlled power distributors that control the local market: CEZ and Energo-Pro from the Czech Republic, and Austria's EVN.
Many Bulgarians feel squeezed by low wages — the lowest in the EU at (euro) 360 ($480) monthly — and prices that keep going up. Many say they feel betrayed by their leaders and by promises joining the EU in 2007 would bring a better life.
Borisov's ruling center-right party won parliamentary elections in 2009, but has been steadily losing public support in the wake of the country's worst economic downturn in a decade.
David Cameron stung by jellyfish: PM hurt after ignoring advice of locals while on holiday
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Hollande's affair: Catherine Deneuve and Sophie Marceau in war of words over President's relationship with Julie Gayet
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 KFC 'sorry' after lesbian couple are kicked out of Bath restaurant for 'heavy petting'
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 5 Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...