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By Tsvetelia Tsolova
SOFIA, June 27 Bulgaria set October 5 as the
date for a snap parliamentary election on Friday, putting an end
to weeks of political uncertainty that has coincided with two
bank runs that have raised fears for the country's financial
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's minority government
agreed to resign earlier this month after the biggest party in
his coalition, the Socialists, performed badly in May's European
Compounding the government's political headaches, the
central bank last week had to take over Bulgaria's fourth
largest lender after jittery depositors withdrew their savings.
A second bank suffered a similar run on Friday, prompting the
central bank to warn of a systematic attempt to destabilise the
country through attacks on the banking system.
"We will propose to the president the date of October 5 for
holding the parliamentary election," Socialist Party leader
Sergei Stanishev told a news conference in the parliament.
Seeking the consent of the president, a largely ceremonial
figure, is a formality.
Flanked by leaders of the other political parties, Stanishev
also said there was cross-party support for measures being
undertaken by the central bank and other state institutions to
guarantee the stability of Bulgaria's financial system.
In power for barely a year and dogged for much of that
period by street protests over endemic corruption in the state
apparatus, the government has struggled to revive sluggish
economic growth and stem a sharp drop in foreign investment.
Opinion polls suggest Boiko Borisov's centre-right GERB
party, whose last government was toppled in February 2013 by
street protests over high energy prices, will emerge as the
largest party in the new parliament.
However, Borisov may struggle to form a stable government,
political analysts say. His party was also the largest after the
last general election but was unable to find allies, paving the
way for Oresharski's minority coalition.
Borisov said on Friday he believed Bulgaria should
immediately seek the help of the International Monetary Fund to
help restore calm in the economy.
"This is the only option. The next budget should be prepared
by the Fund," Borisov told reporters in parliament.
Asked why Bulgaria needed IMF help, he said: "Mostly for
expertise so that the country can calm down."
He added that the outgoing coalition government would
probably stay in office until the end of July to allow time to
launch talks with the IMF and to raise new debt totalling up to
6 billion levs ($4.2 billion).
Bulgaria is the European Union's poorest member state and
one of its most corrupt, but has been financially stable since a
1996-97 crisis wiped out much of its banking sector and led to
the introduction of a currency board that pegs the lev currency
to the euro. It has one of the lowest debt levels in the EU.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Writing by Gareth Jones;
editing by Matthias Williams)