Bulgaria far-right leader stripped of ethics chief role after outcry

Bulgaria's parliament on Thursday stripped the leader of the far-right Ataka party of his role as ethics chief in a bid to ease anger over his appointment, seen as the latest blunder by the country's embattled one-and-a-half-month old government.

The firebrand ultra-nationalist Volen Siderov's appointment last month as head of parliament's corruption, conflict of interests and ethics committee fanned angry anti-government protests which began on June 14.

Mass protests against the new government erupted after the controversial appointment of a new security chief, but soon turned against a government and political class that protesters say are too dependent on shady corporate interests.

The demonstrations come just months after anti-poverty and corruption rallies forced out the previous conservative government in February, prompting a snap election in May.

In a move to appease protesters, parliamentarians voted Thursday to form a new committee on religions and ethics, but left Siderov in charge of corruption and conflict of interests.

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic and the committees in the legislature carve out all major pieces of legislation in their areas.

Siderov, who has long been known for his strong anti-minority rhetoric, drew public ire by refusing to stand up when the EU anthem was played during the inauguration of parliament on May 29.

He has also verbally attacked journalists and recently threatened a policeman.