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Bulgaria: Opposition Leader Comments On Currency Board

Washington, 5 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The head of Bulgaria's UDF opposition group, Ivan Kostov, says he can broadly support the creation of a currency board form of Central Bank for Bulgaria. But Kostov says he cannot support one that is implemented by the current government or by the leadership of the central bank.

Kostov said a week of consultations in Washington with International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and U.S. officials, has led to ideas for a plan of action for the UDF. He says these could "solve several problems at once" -- "the political crisis" and "change very rapidly the current failed policies in economics and finance."

The IMF has proposed that Bulgaria adopt a currency board form of central bank, which would tie the Bulgarian Lev to a major global currency like the dollar, as the only viable solution for the country's current financial crisis.

Kostov said the discussions with the IMF cleared up misunderstandings the UDF had about the currency board proposal as well as the fund's misunderstanding that the UDF was totally opposed to the idea. He told a press conference in Washington that he will present his plan of action to the UDF's Supreme Political Body on Monday in Sofia, combining it with another proposal to seek an immediate vote of none-confidence of the current Cabinet as a first step. He said that with a reasonable program, the UDF could expect some parts of the socialist party to add their support.