Bulgaria MPs trade accusations as parliament dissolved

Bulgarian lawmakers Thursday used the final session of parliament before being dissolved ahead of early elections in May to blame each other for the political crisis gripping the European Union's poorest country.

Angel Naydenov from the opposition Socialist party said that the "desperate" four people who set themselves on fire during the past month of protests, three of whom died, "symbolise the results of this government".

The parliamentary head of former prime minister Boyko Borisov's right-wing GERB party, Krasimir Velchev, countered that it was the opposition who incited the protests and "contributed to shattering the fragile balance in society".

Borisov's government resigned on February 20, five months before its term was due to end, following weeks of sometimes violent protests against high electricity prices, poverty and corruption, paving the way for elections on May 12.

Marin Raykov, appointed caretaker prime minister this week at the head of a technocrat government to run the country until the vote, was quoted as saying Thursday that he would reach out to protesters.

"People must be heard. They must take part in the analysis of the situation and the process of seeking ways out of it," Raykov, a career diplomat and former deputy foreign minister, told the Trud daily in an interview.

Interim Social Affairs Minister Deyana Kostadinova told state BNT television that the government was considering how it could "support the most vulnerable families within the framework of the current budget".