Teetering Bulgarian government survives fourth no-confidence vote

SOFIA Fri May 30, 2014 2:14am EDT

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SOFIA May 30 (Reuters) - Bulgaria's government survived its fourth no-confidence vote on Friday, but failed to end growing political uncertainty in the Balkan country after the main opposition GERB party won by a bigger than expected margin in last week's European elections.

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's minority coalition struck down the motion with 116 votes, out of a total of 209 lawmakers who took part in the motion, which accused the government of mismanaging energy policy.

But the ruling Socialists' woeful performance in last week's European Parliament elections has renewed pressure on the government to call a snap election later in 2014, a year after street protests caused the previous administration to collapse.

Even the Socialists' own coalition ally, the ethnic Turkish MRF party, on Wednesday had predicted that Oresharski's government would not last a full-term, adding the MRF was open to discussing various options including early polls.

The Centre-right GERB, which won 30.4 percent of the vote on Sunday, well ahead of the Socialists who were on 18.9 percent, has demanded the resignation of the government.

Socialist leader Sergei Stanishev has so far dismissed calls for snap polls, but has rapped the government for delaying reforms and failing to speed up economic growth.

Political analysts say the Socialists will try to woo back voters by sacking ministers in the most inefficient sectors like education and healthcare, but doubted that such changes could save the government beyond the end of the year.

"While the vote is therefore likely to fail, government stability is on a negative trajectory and the risk of early elections in this parliamentary term is increasing," Teneo Intelligence analyst Otilia Dhand had said before the vote.

(Reporting By Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Matthias Williams)

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