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BULGARIA


  
  

 

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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 19,859 15,608 13,600 69
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,130 1,790 1,650 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 127 - (19/12/07)

Ministerial changes in the pipeline
In June 2005, Bulgarian voters renewed their National Assembly. The Coalition for Bulgaria (KzB)—which included the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP)—secured 82 seats, followed by the National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) with 53 lawmakers. In August, these two main parties, along with the Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), agreed to set-up a coalition administration with Socialist leader Sergey Stanishev as prime minister.

On October 23 2007, the government survived a no-confidence motion tabled by the opposition in the legislature on the basis that it had failed to properly fund the education system. The 160-61 vote came after a long teacher’s strike, and was the third no-confidence motion that the Stanishev administration has faced since taking office.

PM's popularity up
While more people in Bulgaria than previously are content with Stanishev’s performance, most remain dissatisfied with it, according to a poll by Alpha Research. 41 per cent of respondents think of the prime minister’s tenure as positive, up four points since September. When asked: “Do you have a positive or negative view of Sergey Stanishev’s work as prime minister?” the responses were as follows:-


                      Nov. 2007            Sept. 2007        Aug. 2007
Positive            41%                      37%                  43%
Negative          54%                      59%                  50%

Source: Alpha Research
Methodology: Interviews with 1,010 Bulgarian adults, conducted in November 2007. No margin of error was provided.

EC appoints monitors
This year, along with Romania, Bulgaria officially joined the European Union (EU). The European Commission on December 4 launched the procedure to appoint liaison officers for Bulgaria and Romania.On November 23, Stanishev said the country is already seeing the benefits of joining the EU, but issued a warning, saying, "We still have much, much work to do in this regard. EU membership was seen as a great opportunity for my country whose people had, for many years, been led to believe that, once we joined, the EU would ‘take care of us’. There have been some positive sides of our membership of the EU and growth rate in Bulgaria is now growing at a faster rate than quite a few of the ‘old’ EU member states. Despite this, I realize we still have a lot to do, both socially and economically, to meet public expectations."

A reshuffle, but not a major one, in the offing
Prime Minister Stanishev has vehemently denied reports that major changes in the government are due in the wake of the internal dissent that jolted the party of former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg, a junior partner in the coalition government.
"The ruling coalition was set up in order to bear responsibility for Bulgaria's development and the country is making a sustainable progress," Stanishev said. "This is the main priority of the government and the ruling coalition and it will become reality by the end of its full term," he added.

Reports emerged in late November that Stanishev and his junior coalition partners - former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg and ethnic Turkish leader Ahmed Dogan - have reached an agreement on the replacement of key ministers. The new ministers were expected to be presented in January.

Simeon Saxe-Coburg, leader of the centrist NMSP party, was believed to have pressed for the resignations of four of his five ministers - Education Minister Daniel Valchev, former Justice Minister Anton Stankov, State Administration Minister Nikolay Vassilev and Euro-Affairs Minister Gergana Grancharova. The clean-up was expected to sweep out of office Socialist Health Minister Radoslav Gaydarski and two members of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms - Agriculture Minister Nihat Kabil and Disaster Management Minister Emel Etem.

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