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Bulgaria: Stoyanov Asks Kostov Mandate For New Government

Sofia, 14 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov today formally asked Ivan Kostov, the leader of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), to form a new government.

Kostov said he would present his proposed cabinet to Stoyanov on Monday. He said a majority of the caretaker government's economic team would remain.

Kostov yesterday named his proposed Cabinet to his political allies in Parliament. Our correspondent in Sofia reports that Kostov wants caretaker Industry Minister Alexander Bozhkov and Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev to keep their posts in the new government. Caretaker Labor Minister Ivan Neikov also reportedly has been named to keep his position.

Our correspondent says the deputy leader of the UDF, Nadezhda Michailova, has been proposed as the next Foreign Minister. Vensislav Varbanov, a coalition partner of Kostov's in the "People's Union," has been proposed as Agriculture Minister.

Reports say Kostov also proposed UDF member Muravei Radev as Finance Minister, and UDF member Valentine Vasilev as Trade Minister.

Kostov's parliamentary coalition, the anti-communist United Democratic Forces (ODS), won an overwhelming victory with an absolute majority of 137 seats in the 240 seat parliament during April elections.

Yesterday, all 137 parliamentarians in the coalition voted in favor of Kostov's nomination as the next Bulgarian prime minister.