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Bulgarian government survives third no-confidence vote

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Angel Krasimirov

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's Socialist-led coalition survived its third no-confidence vote on Wednesday, a motion that underscored a persistent threat to a government hobbled by street protests and political squabbles since taking office last year.

The opposition GERB party had called for the vote, accusing the government of failing to deal with an influx of thousands of Syrian refugees, and failing to stem a rise in car thefts and burglaries in the European Union's poorest country.

As was widely expected, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's minority coalition struck down the motion by 116 votes, out of a total of 217 lawmakers who took part. It survived two similar votes about its investment policies in October.

Oresharski's coalition looked like it may fall last year when tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Sofia in anti-corruption protests. Such protests have since dwindled and political analysts expect the government to limp on at least until the European elections in late May.

But the unrest robbed the government of clout to reform the corrupt political system or the slow and inefficient judiciary.

"GERB had no moral right to a claim a vote of no confidence because its national security policy was its biggest failure for Bulgaria's citizens," said Sergei Stanishev, the leader of the ruling Socialist party (BSP), after the vote.

GERB, which won the most votes in last year's general election but failed to find a partner to form a government, has pledged to keep pressure on Oresharski's government until it resigns.

(Editing by Matthias Williams and Elizabeth Piper)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140212/bulgarian-government-survives-third-no-confidence-vote