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Bulgarian PM refuses to resign despite mass nightly protests

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has dismissed demands from head of state Rumen Radev for his coalition government to resign in light of massive nightly anti-government protests.

Sofia, 15 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has dismissed demands from head of state Rumen Radev for his coalition government to resign in light of massive nightly anti-government protests.

“A resignation of this government will not improve the situation,” Borisov said ahead of a government meeting on Wednesday, and called for the opposition to join efforts to solve the crisis.

The pandemic was set to present serious economic difficulties to the European Union’s poorest nation later this year, Borisov warned.

With a nod to the European Commission’s proposed 750-billion-euro (857-billion-dollar) pandemic recovery fund, Borisov said he would push for financial aid for Bulgaria at the EU summit beginning on Friday.

His comments came the day after riots broke out as thousands of demonstrators gathered for the sixth night in a row in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, demanding the government resign.

Demonstrators have accused the coalition government, which took office in 2017, of corruption and mafia-like behaviour. The protests are supported by the opposition Socialists and by the pro-Russian President Radev.

Borisov already declared over the weekend that his government would remain in office and the finance and defence ministers reiterated on Tuesday that the government would not resign.

The next parliamentary elections are set for March 2021.

The protests have gone beyond Sofia, with demonstrations in the Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas as well as in Plovdiv in the south.

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