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August 16
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Bulgaria’s president on Friday handed the mandate to try and form a new government to the country’s finance minister, four days after pro-Western reformist Kiril Petkov resigned following a no-confidence vote in Parliament, AP reported.

Asen Vassilev, from Petkov’s We Continue the Change party, now has seven days to try to end the European Union and NATO member’s latest political crisis amid soaring tensions with Russia.

Before handing over the mandate Friday, President Roumen Radev warned that Bulgaria “is in a political, economic, and social crisis.”

“I expect adequate solutions and the defense of the national interest to build a free, democratic and prosperous European Bulgaria,” he added.

Vassilev was given the mandate instead of Petkov, whose party had won the most votes in last December’s elections, because another of Petkov’s former junior partners ruled out backing him due to a dispute with Russia.

This week, Bulgaria ordered the expulsion of 70 Russian diplomatic staff from Bulgaria, exacerbating tensions between the two historically close nations.

In 2021, Bulgaria held three separate general elections, lurching from one political crisis to another.

More than three decades after communism ended in Bulgaria, it is ranked the most corrupt country in Europe, and is the EU’s poorest member.

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