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Bulgaria: Investigation Opens Into Bugging Allegation

Sofia, 12 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Officials tell RFE/RL in Sofia that Bulgaria's Armed Forces Prosecution has opened an investigation into a "bugging" -- electronic eavesdropping -- scandal.

Word of this investigation follows an announcement yesterday that the Interior Ministry has formed a special task force to investigate the case and allegations that the ministry was involved in illegal practices against the opposition.

After winning the presidential election this month, opposition leaders revealed that they had found "bugs" in their heaquarters several months before the voting took place. Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) leader Ivan Kostov said tiny hidden microphones were found in his office and that of now president-elect Petar Stoyanov.

Kostov said the UDF decided not to report the incident before the election, because the party wanted, instead, to maintain voter focus on the policies of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

Top officials of the BSP today continue debating whether Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov should resign. Several members of the Party have called for his resignation. Yesterday a dozen well-known Bulgarian intellectuals calls for his resignation.

Videnov has said he will seek a vote of confidence at the Party meeting, and resign if he fails to get it.