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Wiretap scandal hits Bulgaria's ex-PM ahead of vote

A huge scandal about the alleged wiretapping of outgoing Bulgarian premier Boyko Borisov's political opponents is starting to hurt his re-election chances in May, analysts and opinion polls suggested Friday. According to pollsters Mediana, Borisov's right-wing GERB party, although still in first place, has slipped from a score of 26.4 percent in early April to 23.3 percent last weekend.

Indictments in Bulgaria over wiretap scandal

Four Bulgarian interior ministry officials were indicted on Tuesday over the alleged wiretapping of outgoing premier Boyko Borisov's political opponents, Sofia prosecutors said. The head of the ministry's surveillance unit Sergey Katsarov and his two predecessors Tsvetan Ivanov and Kamen Kostov were charged with disregarding their duties and facilitating unregulated wiretapping dating back to 2009. Another official was being probed for trying to cover up the case by allegedly destroying the illegal recordings.

Bulgaria's ousted centre-right GERB extends lead before May vote

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's centre-right GERB party, which resigned from power after protests in February, is extending its lead over rival parties before an election due in May, a poll showed on Thursday. Support for Boiko Borisov's GERB grew to 22.5 percent in April, from 21.9 percent in March, while backing for the Socialists dropped to 16.9 percent from 17.4 in the previous month, according to an Alpha Research poll.

Probe finds top Bulgarian politicians wiretapped

Bulgaria's interior ministry has ordered irregular wiretaps on top politicians for years, prosecutors said Monday after a probe which appeared to confirm opposition concerns just ahead of snap elections next month. Deputy chief prosecutor Borislav Sarafov told journalists the probe had turned up "practices at the interior ministry that facilitate the unregulated wiretapping" of top politicians and business people. "We have observed violations regarding the daily use of (wiretapping) equipment," he added.

Bulgarian leftists see broad coalition as better alternative

By Angel Krasimirov SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's Socialists said on Saturday they would form a broad coalition if they win a parliamentary election on May 12 and cut taxes for the lowest earners to try to raise living standards. Thousands of supporters of the Bulgarian Socialists Party (BSP) waved red flags and balloons, and chanted "Victory", filling a park in Sofia at the start of the election campaign.

Bulgaria's ousted PM leads pre-election poll

The right-wing party of Bulgaria's former premier, who resigned in February after mass protests, topped a new opinion poll released Friday at the official start of campaigning for May 12 elections. The 26.4 percent of eligible voters attributed to Boyko Borisov's GERB party by the Mediana institute survey of 1,000 people would however be too small for the former bodyguard to be able to win a majority.

Interim Bulgaria PM promises to help pensioners and poor

By Tsvetelia Tsolova SOFIA (Reuters) - New Bulgarian interim Prime Minister Marin Raikov pledged on Tuesday to retain fiscal discipline with a cabinet of professionals that aims to maintain market confidence and placate protesters ahead of an election on May 12. President Rosen Plevneliev's choice of Raikov and other independents as ministers is designed to prove to protesters there has been a clean break with a political class they view as corrupt and unable to improve living standards in the European Union's poorest member.

Diplomat named interim PM in crisis-hit Bulgaria

Bulgaria's president named on Tuesday career diplomat and former deputy foreign minister Marin Raykov as caretaker prime minister until early elections on May 12, following the resignation of the government last month. "The tasks before the government are clear -- to prevent the social and political crisis from turning into an economic one by chasing away investors and discouraging employers ... and to be a guarantor for free and democratic elections," President Rosen Plevneliev said.

UPDATE 1-INTERVIEW-New Bulgarian party opposed to coalition deals

(Adds details on policies, quotes) By Tsvetelia Tsolova SOFIA, March 7 (Reuters) - The leader of a new pro-business Bulgarian political party said she will not support any coalition after elections in May, making an extended period without government more likely for the EU's poorest country.

Bulgaria PM hospitalised again amid new protests

Bulgaria's prime minister was hospitalised again Sunday as tens of thousands of people nationwide, unappeased by the government's recent resignation, staged angry protests against poverty, cronyism and corruption. Around 7,000 demonstrators, according to an AFP estimate, blocked traffic on several key boulevards in the capital Sofia for hours, waving white-green-and-red Bulgarian flags and shouting "Mafia!"
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