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Bulgaria's New Caretaker PM Vows To Ensure Fair Snap Polls

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (left) and caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev shake hands in Sofia after a new cabinet was sworn in on May 12.
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev (left) and caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev shake hands in Sofia after a new cabinet was sworn in on May 12.

SOFIA -- Bulgarian caretaker Prime Mnister Stefan Yanev has officially taken office, saying the main priority of his government will be to uphold the rule of law and ensure the fairness of the upcoming snap parliamentary elections.

"Honest and responsible work by the government can at least partially restore the lost trust in state institutions," Yanev said during his inauguration ceremony on May 12.

It will be "absolutely uncompromising" against any attempted vote violations, Yanev said.

“Integrity, transparency, professionalism," will be the motto of his cabinet, he added.

On May 11, President Rumen Radev appointed Yanev, a close ally, to lead the caretaker government until a cabinet is formed following early elections set for July 11.

The move came after an inconclusive poll last month resulted in a fragmented parliament that failed to produce a government.

Yanev, 61, was the president’s defense and security advise before his appointment. The retired brigadier general also served as a deputy prime minister and defense minister in a caretaker government Radev appointed in 2017.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Radev said that "declaring war on vote-buying" and "bringing order to the chaos of vaccinations” are among the tasks of new government.

Yanev's appointment as caretaker prime minister came after three failed attempts by the country’s main parties to form a government following polls on April 4.

The center-right GERB party of outgoing, three-time Prime Minister Boyko Borisov came first in the elections, but garnered only 26 percent of the vote amid frustration over endemic corruption and poverty.

The new antiestablishment party, There Is Such A People (TSN), led by television personality Slavi Trifonov, was second with 18 percent, while two other antiestablishment parties made inroads.

The Socialists came in third place in the last election.

Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member, ranks as the bloc's most corrupt state, according to the watchdog Transparency International.

It has been criticized by Brussels for failing to overhaul its judiciary and tackle widespread corruption.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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