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Bulgaria: Caretaker Government Sworn In; Elections Scheduled

Sofia, 12 February 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bulgarian President Petar Soyanov said today he will dissolve Parliament a week from today, on February 19, and set early general elections for April 19.

The decision comes after Stoyanov swore in a caretaker government to rule until the April elections. It is headed by Stefan Sofianski, mayor of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, and is expected to begin work without ceremony tomorrow.

The new prime minister told journalists that he hopes the interim Cabinet will be able to return trust in the government. Bulgaria has been in a state of political crisis since former Socialist Prime Minister Zhan Videnov announced his resignation late December in the the wake of economic problems.

Sofianski said Bulgaria cannot pull out of its crisis in three months, but said he hopes his Cabinet will begin to normalize the social and economic situation in the country.

The new Cabinet will have the power to negotiate and close deals with international financial bodies, including the International Monetary Fund, but such deals will have to be approved later by the new Parliament.