Bulgaria’s political crisis: Protests to continue in spite of government’s resignation, organiser says

Organisers of the nationwide public protests in Bulgaria that played the major role in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s February 20 2013 announcement of the resignation of his government said a few hours later that the protests would continue in spite of the Cabinet stepping down.

Addressing Parliament on February 20, Borissov cited the violence that had marred protests in Sofia the night before as one of the reasons that he had decided to submit his government’s resignation.

At a news conference in the Bulgarian capital, one of the initiators of the protest said that the protests would continue because the departure of the Cabinet did not solve people’s problems.

Yanko Petrov said that he did not rule out that there would be further protests in cities and towns on the evening of February 20 and said that a scheduled large-scale protest on February 24 would go ahead.

Petrov said that the protests would continue to call for the convening of a Grand National Assembly to adopt amendments to the constitution.

In reality, it remains to be seen what the public response will be to the call for protests to continue.

Organised largely on social networks, the protests have had more than one leadership figure and have seen a public dispute after one of the purported leaders appeared to make a deal with the Borissov government.

The protests began as a campaign against high electricity bills and with calls for the expulsion of foreign-owned electricity distribution companies from Bulgaria. By February 17, the protests largely had transformed themselves into political protests, with calls for the resignation of the government.

Individual participants, interviewed by journalists in various cities in Bulgaria, when asked why they were protesting sometimes answered that for them the issue was electricity, others said that they wanted the government to step down, and in some cases said that they were protesting in support of both causes.

The news conference announcing the continuation of the protests had been scheduled the day before Borissov announced the resignation of his government.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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