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Politics

Bulgarian president appoints caretaker PM to lead country into snap vote

Bulgaria's president has named a law professor as the country's new caretaker prime minister to lead the country through to snap elections. This follows the resignation of the Socialist-led coalition last month.

President Rosen Plevneliev (pictured above, right) announced on Tuesday that he was appointing Georgi Bliznashki (above, left) to lead an interim government until it is replaced following the October 5 parliamentary election.

Plevneliev said he had asked Bliznashki to "govern the country in a difficult and unpredictable situation."

Bliznashki replaces technocrat Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, who resigned along with his government on July 23, paving the way for Bulgaria's second general election in less than two years.

The 57-year-old Bliznashki used to be a member of the Socialists, but was turfed out of the party last year, after joining street demonstrators protesting against Oresharski's Socialist-backed government.

Another key member of the interim government is the new finance minister, Rumen Porozhanov, a 49-year-old former civil servant.

Economic woes

The new government will be faced with a wide range of problems to try to get to grips with, including sluggish growth, rising unemployment, and the fate of Bulgaria's fourth-largest lender, Corporate Commercial Bank.

The bank faced a run on deposits in June and remains shut down after Bulgaria's central bank ordered a full audit of its books.

Back in June, Standard & Poor's downgraded Bulgaria's credit rating to one notch above junk, citing its political instability over the past two years.

Opinion polls suggest that the main opposition GERB party, which was in government until it collapsed amid mass street protests in February 2013, is likely to return to power in the October vote.

pfd/nm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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