The FINANCIAL -- Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev said Wednesday his country had to
ensure that upcoming elections would be fair, transparent and in keeping
with EU rules, after popular protests forced the country's right-wing
government to resign last month.
Plevneliev, speaking next to European Parliament head Martin Schulz, said he hoped the campaign for the polls on May 12 would be positive, dealing with Bulgaria's real problems and proposing real solutions.
"It is very important that with the upcoming elections we safeguard a fair and transparent process (and) ensure elections compliant with EU rules," the president said through an interpreter.
The new parliament will have to draft "important legislation" on a whole series of difficult issues such as health and energy, he said.
"What is needed is to build a legitimate government backed by the Bulgarian people ... it will have to be a strong reliable one and ready to take tough decisions," Plevneliev said.
Schulz said that while he could not comment directly on the elections, he hoped they would "produce a broad-based government ... (with) a broad mandate."
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov stepped down last month after weeks of protest against high electricity prices, corruption, low salaries and rising unemployment.
As EUbusiness said, several people set themselves alight in what were seen as the biggest nationwide protests in Bulgaria for 16 years.
Protests have continued, targeting the whole political establishment as a mafia above the law and sparking concerns the elections could prove violent.
Plevneliev said he will name a caretaker government shortly, in line with constitutional requirements, and it should be given a chance to do its work.
There were enough suitably qualified people available and "I do hope that as a sign of goodwill ... these professionals will be given the opportunity to do their job," he said.
Asked if EU Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva might be named caretaker prime minister, the president said it was essential for Bulgaria that she continued her work in Brussels.