Cabinet Resigns amid Protests

Cabinet Resigns amid Protests

Prime minister Boiko Borisov submitted the cabinet's resignation to parliament on Wednesday, the country's legislature said.

The government's resignation comes after a week of street rallies across the country which started as a protest against high electricity bills but escalated into anti-government marches. A reshuffle in the centre-right cabinet earlier this week and the prime minister's announcement that the licence of one of the energy distributors in the country will be revoked failed to ease the tension.

The resignation will be put to a vote on Thursday, the National Assembly said in a statement posted on its website.

"We have done our best to meet the demands of the protesters [...]. The state needs a new credit of confidence, people should say who should govern them from now on," Borisov told parliament earlier in the day. "That is why today we will not make structural changes in the cabinet. After the government meeting ends today, at noon I will tender the government's resignation [...] I hope it will be accepted."

The prime minister added that he will not participate in an interim government.

On Monday, Borisov said he will propose to parliament to vote on changes in the cabinet lineup which included replacing deputy prime minister and finance minister Simeon Dyankov over lack of support from the ruling party, GERB, and the public.

A day later, the prime minister said the electricity transmission and distribution licence of a local unit of Czech power utility CEZ will be revoked and that all three power distibutors in the country - CEZ, Austria's EVN and Czech energy group Energo-Pro - will be fined.

Borisov also said on Tuesday that the government had proposed to the energy regulator a series of measures which would lead to an 8.0% drop in electricity prices as of March 1. These include reducing the energy distribution companies' regulator-approved costs and increasing the share of cheap electricity generated by the country's Kozloduy nuclear power plant in the energy mix, on the basis of which the bills of end-consumers are calculated.

Despite the cabinet's efforts to ease the crisis, street rallies with scuffles between the protesters and the police continued on Tuesday evening in several Bulgarian cities.

Bulgaria is due to hold general elections this summer. Borisov and his GERB party came to power following a sweeping victory in the summer of 2009.


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