Bulgaria government survives second no-confidence vote

The Bulgarian government, led by Socialists, has survived a second no-confidence vote this month, amid deep political division in the European Union’s poorest country.

The censure motion was defeated on Thursday with 117 votes cast in favor of the government by the Socialists and their coalition partner MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) Party, Reuters reported.

A total of 231 deputies took part in the motion, which targeted the government’s investment policies.

The government survived a similar motion on October 2.

“We will continue to work to rebalance the development between the big city centers and the small towns,” Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said after the vote.

The opposition GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) Party, however, said it will table further no-confidence motions to ramp up pressure on the government to step down.

Since taking office in May, Oresharski’s government has faced almost daily street protests. But it has dismissed any call to resign.

In February, the country’s previous conservative-led government was forced to resign after massive protests were held against high-energy bills and low salaries.

Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, is struggling with worsening poverty levels, rising unemployment and failing living standards as well as persistent crime and corruption.

The country, which is facing political uncertainty as well as endemic corruption and red tape, is likely to hit snags in attracting foreign direct investment to revive its sluggish economy.

Analysts believe that new elections — by mid-2014 at the latest — are the only solution out of the crisis, but Oresharski has repeatedly refused to resign, claiming that fresh elections would only destabilize the country and devastate the ailing economy of the country.