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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: 133 - (30/06/08)

Crisis loomimg in Sofia, highly critical EU report
The big event this summer was the publication of a highly critical European Commission report on Bulgaria on June 23 that puts the survival of the government of Premier Sergei Stanishev gravely in doubt. 

On June 16 President Gyorgyi Purvanov made very harsh criticisms of his own premier, the more striking because he put him in power four years age. He anticipated a very negative report and chastised Stanishev for appointing political cronies to top state industry jobs.

The hinterland between industry and the state is indubitably very murky in Bulgaria, as in many countries. It is jobs for the boys, bribes galore to keep state officials happy notably tax collectors to look the other way, who belong to a very lucrative profession there.

Naturally, the general population, who are finding it hard to make ends meet, are sullenly resentful of the situation. Mayor Borissov of Sofia, the head of the opposition Bulgaria for Europe Party, is likely to make great political capital out of it and push for early elections, due by 2009 anyway. 

BSP for the birds
The irony is that the party in power is the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), which is supposedly for the people. It was founded in 1891, then became the Communist Party that ruled until 1989, then reverted to being the BSP in 1990, entering coalition governments in the 1990s. 

This somewhat restored its democratic credentials, rather marred in the commumist period, but not for long. Despite being easily the largest party in those days, it now faces nemesis. Borissov looks to be the likely beneficiary.

Other opposition parties have other ideas
Bulgaria would not be a democracy, which it now decidedly is, if other people did not have other ideas. Three opposition parties, who distrust Borissov for his stewardship of Sofia as much as Stanishev for his of the country, are bonding together.

LIDER, VMRO and the Agrarian Party are in intense negotiations to form an electoral bloc by the autumn. Individually their electoral showing is negligible; collectively it might be impressive. The stumbling block as always is who is to be the leader. 

Tax reformer supreme
Meanwhile, Stanishev has been voted by the Doing Business 2008 report of the World Bank as the world's Number One tax reformer. The Socialist government has, indeed, been highly innovative in this respect, introducing the flat tax and other measures to motivate businessmen. 

But it is the people at large who count in a democracy. They are not so appreciative of the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich or the expectantly rich! 

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