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Bulgaria: New Parliament Pledges Reform

Sofia, 7 May 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A new Bulgarian parliament met in Sofia today and promised economic reforms and a fight against crime and corruption.

Delegates elected Jordan Sokolov of the center-right Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) speaker of parliament. Sokolov is a lawyer and was interior minister in a UDF government in 1992.

All the parties in parliament pledged support for key parts of the UDF's program to respond to Bulgaria's economic and political crisis.

Citizens toppled the Socialist government in February, after prolonged mass protests, and elected a new government last month. They gave the UDF clear control of the 240-seat assembly. Since February, a caretaker cabinet appointed by President Petar Stoyanov has stabilized the national currency and brought bread and fuel shortages under control.