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Bulgaria reappoints caretaker PM ahead of third election of 2021 - Metro US

Bulgaria reappoints caretaker PM ahead of third election of 2021

NATO summit in Brussels

SOFIA (Reuters) -Bulgarian President Rumen Radev reappointed caretaker premier Stefan Yanev on Thursday to lead an interim government until the country holds its third set of parliamentary elections this year on Nov. 14, following inconclusive votes in April and July.

The new interim government is expected to submit a national plan to Brussels to tap hefty EU coronavirus recovery funds and help the country cope with an upsurge in new infections as well as the possible arrival of migrants from Afghanistan.

The European Union’s poorest member state has been struggling to form a regular government after voting out former centre-right prime minister Boyko Borissov following almost a decade of political dominance.

Public anger over widespread corruption brought down Borissov, but wrangling and rivalry have prevented his political opponents from forging a government with a majority in parliament.

Radev, who is running for re-election as president in a vote to be held the same day in November, re-appointed Yanev and all but three of the interim ministers who took office in May after the April vote.

“You have already proven that you have the stamina to face a difficult legacy and work for the future of Bulgaria,” Radev, a harsh critic of Borissov, said at an inauguration ceremony for Yanev.

Yanev’s first interim Cabinet has been popular with some for revealing that Borissov’s government spent billions of taxpayer money on infrastructure projects without proper procurement, among other shortcomings.

It has also pushed through a revision of the state budget to provide support for businesses and pensioners amid a fourth wave of the pandemic. But it has failed to significantly boost vaccinations against the virus, and the country has the lowest inoculation rate in the bloc.

Two of its most popular members, Economy Minister Kiril Petkov and Finance Minister Assen Vassilev, will not be part of the new administration as the two will be launching their own political faction to drive change ahead of the November polls.

Radev appointed Valery Beltchev, a Harvard University graduate with a long track record in banking and public finance, as interim finance minister.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Christian Schmollinger, Robert Birsel and Hugh Lawson)

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