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Bulgaria assembly backs reshuffle aimed at calming outcry over crash

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By Reuters
Bulgaria assembly backs reshuffle aimed at calming outcry over crash
FILE PHOTO: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is seen during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, June 13, 2018. Abir Sultan/Pool via Reuters   -   Copyright  POOL New(Reuters)

SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria’s parliament on Thursday backed a cabinet reshuffle aimed at quelling a public outcry over a fatal bus accident that killed 17 people, approving new ministers of interior, regional development and transport.

The centre-right government garnered support for the reshuffle after initial internal coalition tussles, although analysts say Prime Minister Boyko Borissov needed to do more to boost support for his government, which took office in May 2017.

More than 20 people were also injured in the crush in late August in northwest Bulgaria, in which a bus fell into a ravine.

The accident triggered a heated public debate over government accountability for quality of road construction and transport safety.

The chamber voted to appoint Rosen Zhelyazkov, head of the telecoms regulator, as transport minister.

Petya Avramova, a lawmaker from ruling GERB party, will take over regional development and the interior ministry’s secretary general, Mladen Marinov, will be the new interior minister.

The opposition Socialists voted against the appointments, demanding the resignation of the whole government.

There is no immediate risk of political instability or early elections, analysts say, adding that the government should be able to push ahead with reforms ahead of the European election next spring – seen as a test whether it would be able to carry out its full mandate.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, Editing by William Maclean)