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Bulgaria: Government Empowered To Negotiate Loans

By Assen Guechakov and Ivo Indzhev

Sofia, 12 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's political parties agreed yesterday to extend the powers of the incoming transitional government to help it tackle the country's grave financial crisis.

Under President Petar Stoyanov's chairmanship, the five parliamentary parties agreed to empower the new government -- which is expected to take office in a few days -- to negotiate and close deals with international financial institutions.

An RFE/RL correspondent says the specific aim is to speed up talks with the International Monetary Fund on creation of a currency board to tackle Bulgaria's financial and economic problems. Any loans negotiated by the interim government will have to be approved by the new parliament that is to be elected on April 19.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian army officers yesterday staged an unprecendented second day of protests over low wages. President Stoyanov met army officers yesterday to discuss their demand for a 40 percent increase.