Demonstrations continued for a third day in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, demanding the resignation of the new Socialist-led government, with 15,000 protesters chanting “red trash” through the streets.
However, Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said that stepping down would be “highly irresponsible” due to “the danger of again destabilising the country”.
The protests follow Saturday’s decision to reverse the appointment of Delyan Peevski to head of state security, after the choice was rushed through parliament without debate on Friday to widespread public anger.
The Socialist party said in a statement:
“We backed Peevski with the clear idea that we need a strong and decisive person who was able to open a front on organised crime and corruption … But we hear the voice of the people and we will comply.”
On Monday the Prime Minister promised to seek public approval with a new nomination for the position and invited protest leaders for talks.
The previous government of the centre-right GERB party was forced to step down in February following mass protests regarding living standards and administrative corruption. GERB became the largest party in parliament after elections last month, but failed to secure a majority, resulting in the Socialists forming a coalition with the support of a small nationalist party.
The Prime Minister warned that the collapse of the new government could deprive Bulgaria of billions of euros in European Union aid. The country remains the poorest member of the EU and is barred from joining the passport-free Schengen zone.