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Bulgaria: Opposition Calls For Early Parliamentary Elections

Sofia, 7 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgarian opposition leaders -- buoyed by their win in the presidential election -- said today they will press for early parliamentary elections to oust the Socialist cabinet.

Ivan Kostov, leader of the main opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), told reporters that Sunday's run-off election of reformist lawyer Petar Stoyanov showed the Socialist government had lost the confidence of the electorate halfway through its four-year term. Stoyanov won almost 60 percent of the vote.

However, a UDF leader told our correspondent that the opposition will not press a non-confidence motion in parliament before Stoyanov is sworn in on January 21 in order to avoid a power vacuum.

But correspondents say it is not at all clear that the UDF can topple the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party, which has a secure majority in parliament.

The BSP is made up mainly of ex-communists who renamed the party after their hardline leader Todor Zhivkov was toppled in 1989. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's handling of the severe economic crisis is under criticism from inside and outside the party.