Channel NewsAsia

Bulgaria PM survives no-confidence vote

Bulgaria's prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Friday but his government's days are still seen as numbered with snap elections expected in the autumn.

SOFIA: Bulgaria's prime minister survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Friday but his government's days are still seen as numbered with snap elections expected in the autumn.

The year-old government of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski was severely weakened last week after the MRF Turkish minority party withdrew its support.

The head of the Socialist party, the main backers of Oresharski, earlier this week called on him to resign, saying elections were "the best option for the country".

The exact date of his resignation is expected to become clear next Tuesday when the main political parties meet with President Rosen Plevneliev.

Most parties favour elections in the autumn, which will be the second snap vote in Bulgaria in just over a year, and is expected to return the centre-right GERB party to power.

GERB prime minister Boyko Borisov resigned in February 2013 after mass nationwide protests about falling living standards and corruption in the European Union's poorest country.

Oresharski took office in May 2013 but he too faced months of protests with Bulgarians angry that he has failed to fulfil his promises of a break with the past.

The MRF party withdrew its support after the Socialists' terrible result in EU elections in May and because of continuing work on the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline despite EU and US objections amid the Ukraine crisis.

Oresharski said however on Sunday that all work on the pipeline would be suspended and that future developments would depend on consultations with Brussels.

The MRF and the Socialists supported Oresharski in Friday's vote, which Oresharski won by 114 votes to 109 with one abstention, but they say they will only continue to do so until the date for new elections is set.

The International Monetary Fund said Friday after a fact-finding mission that Bulgaria's economic outlook was improving but that political uncertainty remained a "key risk".

It added that Sofia needs to address "critical institutional and broader structural rigidities", tackle corruption and cronyism and bolster the rule of law in order to boost growth.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia