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‘Corruption free’ new govt for Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s months-long political stalemate following three elections this year has come to an end, with parliament voting to install a four-party government.

“Zero tolerance on corruption” is the motto of the centrist-socialist coalition.

The new prime minister, Kiril Petkov, is a 41-year-old graduate of Harvard University who formerly headed the Economy Ministry on an interim basis.

He is co-leader of a new anti-corruption party called We Continue the Change, or PP.

Petkov said fighting corruption, reviving the economy and introducing urgently needed judicial reforms were priorities for his government.

Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and fighting rising electricity prices will also feature strongly.

“Today is an important day to continue the transformation,” Petkov said.

The EU member state’s new finance minister will be Asen Vasilev, also co-leader of PP.

Teodora Genchovska, a graduate of the Military Academy in Sofia, is to become foreign minister.

Speaking on state TV, Petkov said Bulgaria’s policy regarding North Macedonia would remain unchanged. Sofia is currently blocking EU accession talks with North Macedonia.

But, with an eye towards an EU summit on Thursday and Friday, he also said he hoped to increase the “scope of communications” with new working groups.

The new coalition government also includes the Socialist Party, a successor organisation to the former communist state party.

Its members have been given key Cabinet portfolios such as economy and industry, as well as tourism, agriculture and social affairs.

Other partners are the populist ITN of entertainer Slavi Trifonov and the Democratic Bulgaria alliance.

The new government sidelines the conservative GERB party of former prime minister Boyko Borisov, who was dogged by corruption scandals and voted out of office in April.

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