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Bulgaria: Presidential Decree On New Socialist Government Delayed

Sofia, 4 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - A presidential decree that would allow Bulgaria's parliament to vote on a new Socialist government has been postponed and an emergency meeting of the National Security Council has been called.

Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov summoned the Security Counci for later today after consulting with Socialist Prime Minister-designate Nikolai Dobrev and Socialist leader Georgi Parvanov.

Dobrev had been expected to give the president a list of names for his proposed cabinet. Most key positions on the list -- including the Foreign Minister, Finance Minister and Agriculture Minister -- are the same individuals who held those posts in outgoing Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov's discredited government.

But our correspondent in Sofia reports that leaders of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) now expect the Socialists to return their mandate on a new government.

Our correspondents say that unless the mandate is returned, the president would be required by the constitution to approve the Socialist's suggested cabinet by midnight tonight. The parliament would then vote on whether to accept the new government.

Tensions on the streets are reported to be high today as strikers and demonstrators nation-wide continue to call for immediate elections. UDF parliamentary group leader Jordan Sokolov told reporters today that security forces are now mobilizing in Sofia.

The National Security Council includes Dobrev, who is the Interior Minister in Videnov's outgoing cabinet; the army's Chief of Staff; parliamentary group leaders and the head of the National Intelligence Service.