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Bulgaria appoints caretaker government with Dimitar Glavchev as new PM

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev appointed a caretaker government Tuesday, with Bulgarian National Audit Office President Dimitar Glavchev as interim prime minister.

Radev also called for a snap parliamentary ballot on June 9 — at the same time as the European Parliament election. The June 9 vote will be the sixth in three years for Bulgaria, which has struggled to maintain a stable government.

Negotiations for a new government collapsed last month when former EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, who was slated to become prime minister in what was supposed to be an agreed government rotation, withdrew her nomination after tortuous negotiations between her center-right GERB party and the reformist anti-corruption alliance of We Continue the Change and Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB).

Radev then charged Glavchev, a former member of Gabriel’s GERB party, with forming a caretaker government within seven days. Glavchev presented the composition of the government late last week and the interim Cabinet was sworn in during a special ceremony Tuesday morning.

Nikolai Denkov, who represents We Continue the Change, led Bulgaria’s government for the first nine months of the planned rotation, with Gabriel as his deputy and foreign minister. He resigned in March, theoretically paving the way for Gabriel to become prime minister for the next nine months.

But Gabriel, who previously ran the EU’s digital and innovation portfolios across two terms as a European commissioner, said she pulled out amid the “coordinated refusal” of 11 ministers to participate in her proposed government “and the lack of agreement during the subsequent negotiations.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, outgoing prime minister Denkov said that corruption in Bulgaria has paved the way for Russian interference and has contributed to the collapse of the ruling coalition. Denkov, who led the government for less than a year, said he tried to fight both corruption and Russian meddling during his tenure, as they are “linked to each other.”

“A lot of the Russian influence in the past, in the energy sector for example, came through corruption,” Denkov told the paper in an interview published Tuesday.

Source: Politico