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Bulgaria:Videnov Officially Tenders Resignation

Sofia, 23 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Zhan Videnov today formally tendered his resignation to parliament as his ruling Socialist party continued to debate over who should replace him.

The crisis was sparked Saturday when Videnov resigned as Prime Minister and party leader at the start of his ruling Socialists' party congress. Videnov and the socialists -- reconstituted communists -- are largely blamed for the country's current economic woes and growing poverty.

Two days ago the party congress rejected opposition demands to step down and call early elections. The congress, originally scheduled to last two days, continued today after delegates failed to agree on a successor to Videnov.

The congress, however, has empowered a new party executive to appoint a new party leader. Once a new leader is found, he will need the approval of the country's parliament in which the socialists hold a majority.