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Bulgarian President Dissolves Parliament, Sets Early Elections For April 2

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (file photo)
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (file photo)

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev has signed a decree dissolving the parliament and setting April 2 as the date for early elections -- the country's fifth in two years -- after an inconclusive October vote failed to produce a government.

Radev on February 2 also reappointed Galab Donev as caretaker prime minister for the interim period.

The composition of the caretaker government remained almost unchanged, with the exception of outgoing Culture Minister Velislav Minekov, who has been replaced by conductor Nayden Todorov.

Radev had already announced early elections would be needed after Bulgaria's Socialist Party (BSP) said on January 24 that it had failed to form a government and had returned the unfulfilled mandate to the president.

It was the third and final opportunity for a government to be formed under the current legislature, which resulted from the October 2 elections.

Before the socialists' attempt at forming a coalition, the two strongest groups in Bulgaria’s parliament -- the center-right GERB party and the reformist We Continue The Change party, which finished first and second in the October voting -- had each tried and failed to find enough support to form their own governments.

Radev then chose the BSP to fulfill the mandate.

Under the Bulgarian Constitution, Radev was obliged to disband parliament and schedule elections within 60 days of issuing the dissolution decree.

The GERB party of Boyko Borisov, who spent three divisive tenures as prime minister between 2009 and 2021, has been the target of widespread corruption accusations, and most groups have dismissed talk of cooperation with Borisov.

The continuing political crisis is expected to impede the European Union's poorest country's plans to join the euro zone at the end of this year, as well as the timely receipt of billions of euros in EU recovery funds.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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