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... [continues]
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