- Title: BULGARIA-GOVERNMENT/VOTE Back in power, Bulgarian prime minister promises reform
- Date: 7th November 2014
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PROTEST OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT EXTERIOR OF PARLIAMENT BUILDING
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2014 12:00
- Location: Bulgaria
- Country: Bulgaria
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVABV7FXCGZZQYY6RVV3123VMLMY
- Story Text: Bulgaria's new prime minister Boiko Borisov promised an immediate push for reforms to spur economic growth and lure investment on Friday (November 7), as his minority coalition government was endorsed by a vote in parliament.
The vote was seen as a formality after Borisov's centre-right GERB party, which won a fractured parliamentary election a month ago, managed to cobble together enough support to form a government.
"We are forming a pro-European, reformist government with GERB's mandate and it was the only chance to avoid a repeated election," Borisov told parliament ahead of the vote.
"We know that in order to yield results the reforms need to start immediately and the deadline is today," he added.
GERB has partnered a group of five tiny pro-market parties and will rely on the support of two other allies, in a deal announced on Thursday (November 6) that came as welcome news for a country faced with a bank crisis and a weak economy.
Borisov's government will be Bulgaria's fifth in under two years, a period of instability that has stifled any meaningful attempt to implement reforms and root out corruption in one of Europe's poorest countries.
Borisov's previous government was forced to resign after massive protests against high electricity costs in early 2013.
The new government is expected to raise new debt of 4.5 billion levs to finance a fiscal deficit estimated at 4 percent of GDP this year, prop up the banking system and repay depositors of collapsed Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank).
The new government also pledged to restore Brussels' trust in the country, in order to unfreeze blocked EU development funds. It plans to join the bloc's banking union and purge the Bulgarian central bank of its top leadership.
The Speaker of GERB's coalition partner, Reformist Block Party, Radan Kanev said that the new government would maintain Bulgaria's EU relations.
"And please, do not tell Bulgarians and our European partners that this government will move Bulgaria away from Europe. The fact, that Bulgaria will have its first coalition government, where the Socialist party and "Movement for Rights and Freedoms" [ethnic Turkish political party MRF] party are not a factor anymore does not alienate Bulgaria from Europe," he said.
At his announcement, mogul Delyan Peevski, and other members of MRF walked out. MRF has been part of most Bulgarian governments since 1989, most recently forming a coalition government with the Socialist party. Peevski himself was appointed to a top government security job in June last year, an appointment that sparked months of street protests. He stepped down but the protests continued.
Other policy proposals of the new government include imposing a new tax on capital market operations, while keeping the current 10 percent flat income tax rate and carrying out a full review on spending in the energy sector.
The government also plans to propose legal changes to overhaul the inefficient and graft-prone judiciary and police force, to ensure rule of law and crack down on corruption.
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