Bulgaria names Marin Raikov as interim prime minister | News | DW | 12.03.2013
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Bulgaria names Marin Raikov as interim prime minister

Bulgaria's president has named former deputy foreign minister Marin Raikov as the caretaker prime minister until elections on May 12. The appointment follows the resignation of the government last month.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev on Tuesday announced that Marin Raikov, a former deputy foreign minister and current ambassador to France, will serve until the election on May 12.

"The tasks before the government are clear - to prevent the social and political crisis from turning into an economic one by chasing away investors and discouraging employers ... and to be a guarantor for free and democratic elections," President Plevneliev said.

After being named, Raikov pledged to get Bulgaria's economy back on track.

"While we follow strictly the 2013 budget framework, we will take steps to improve the incomes of pensioners and the poorest."

Bulgaria's once popular right-wing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov resigned on February 20 after immense public discontent over high electricity bills, growing poverty and corruption.

The public's frustration with the political class have led to ongoing street protests for the past four weeks that grew violent at times. Three people have died after self-immolating.

A new government

Other members of the interim technocrat administration include deputy central bank governor Kalin Hristov as finance minister.

Harvard economics graduate Asen Vasilev was chosen as the next economy and energy minister, while European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expert Iliana Tsanova was chosen as vice premier.

Police general Petya Parvanova will head the interior ministry, the first woman to occupy the post.

The interim government will take office on Wednesday.

Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 but still remains outside the eurozone and the passport-free travel Schengen area. Bulgaria's population of 7.4 million people has the lowest living standards across the 27-member bloc.

Membership for Bulgaria and Romania in the visa-free Schengen zone has been postponed under the threat of a German veto. Berlin has expressed concerns about the strength of the rule of law in the two EU member states.

hc/kms (Reuters, AFP)