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Untitled Essay Research Paper Over the course

Untitled Essay, Research Paper Over the course of the past two months, January and February 1997, Bulgaria has undergone some sweeping political changes and its economy has deteriorated

Untitled Essay, Research Paper

Over the course of the past two months, January and February 1997, Bulgaria

has undergone some sweeping political changes and its economy has deteriorated

into further collapse. The following is an attempt to describe the events

which took place in Bulgaria in January and February of 1997. This is somewhat

of a difficult task given the current rate of political, economical and social

changes which are occurring in Bulgaria. What follows is an account of the

events which have taken place in Bulgaria over the last two months i.e. January

and February of 1997, subject to the news material which was available to

me and to the time constraints of this project.

Bulgaria’s economic crisis exploded into popular outrage at the beginning

of January 1997, when previously quiescent Bulgarians poured into the streets

to demand that the governing BSP, leave power now rather than when their

four-year term expires at the end of 1998.

After a month of mostly peaceful daily protests that paralysed Sofia and

brought much of the country’s business to a halt, the Socialists, who lack

the kind of fiercely loyal police and media that have sustained President

Slobodan Milosevic in neighbouring Serbia, submitted to the protesters demands

on Wednesday, February 5th 1997. They agreed to hand over power to a caretaker

government until new elections in mid-April, which they are unlikely to win,

when recent polls conclude that only 10% of the population currently support

the BSP. “We’d better celebrate now, because we have very hard days ahead,”

said Ivan Kostov, leader of the opposition United Democratic Forces. ( Source

: OMRI Daily Digest, 18th February 1997. ).

The newly elected Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov named an interim cabinet

headed by Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofianski to oversee the country and its collapsing

economy until a new parliament is chosen in general elections scheduled for

April 19. The appointment means that the mass protests forced the leaders

of the Socialist majority in parliament to agree to a new ballot 20 months

before the end of their elective term. Sofianski’s caretaker cabinet includes

strong critics of the BSP and has announced it will abolish the economic

development portfolio created by them.

This new caretaker government has already begun to dismantle the large number

of government Ministries which were set up by the former Communists, the

BSP. Literally thousands of Civil Servants are being made redundant, as the

caretaker government attempts to pave the way for Administrative Reform in

both the Central and Local Governments of Bulgaria.

Just before this project went to press, on Thursday, the 27th of February,

1997, Poland agreed to give Bulgaria 100,00 tons of wheat to help it deal

with the grain shortages. Bulgaria has already opened its wheat reserves

in an effort to ease the continuing bread shortages. The loan will be repaid

when Bulgaria’s grain reserves are replenished. ( Source : OMRI Daily

Digest, 28th February 1997. )

The German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, speaking in Bonn on 27th February

1997, commented that “Bulgaria is on the brink of economic economic catastrophe”,

and he appealed to Sofia not to delay economic reforms any longer. ( Source

OMRI Daily Digest, 28th February, 1997 ).

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