Bulgarian PM overhauls government to quell protests

People wave Bulgarian flags during an anti-government protest held in front of the Parliament building in Sofia, Bulgaria, 21 July 2020. Hundreds of demonstrators once again gathered in the capital's downtown area to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his government. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

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Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov replaced his finance and other ministers on Thursday in a reshuffle designed to quell a wave of anti-corruption protests that have called for his resignation.

Borissov dismissed the ministers of finance, economy and interior, whom he had asked to resign last week to stop speculation that they were working under the influence of a controversial businessman linked to another political faction.

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev will take over the Balkan country’s coffers, replacing Vladislav Goranov as finance minister, Borissov said after a meeting with his junior coalition partners.

Ananiev, 65, has a reputation as an expert in budget drafting, and has served as deputy finance minister under four different governments since 1998. He was briefly finance minister in an caretaker cabinet in early 2017.

The tourism minister will also be dismissed, Borissov said.

Thousands of mainly young Bulgarians have been demonstrating every night in the past two weeks, seeking the resignation of three-times premier Borissov. They accuse him turning a blind eye to endemic graft that has weakened state institutions and eroded the rule of law for the benefit of few.

The ruling centre-right coalition has vowed to carry out its full four-year mandate that expires next March.


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