New government is formed

Bulgaria’s Socialist Party (BSP) has signed a coalition deal with the outgoing Prime Minister’s centre-right party, ending seven weeks of deadlock.

Former Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, who was Bulgaria’s child king during World War II, said BSP leader Sergei Stanishev would head the coalition.

Saxe-Coburg’s National Movement (NMS) was beaten in the June elections by the BSP, with 31 per cent of the vote. A liberal, mainly ethnic Turkish party will also be in the new government.

Bulgaria is due to become a member of the European Union in 2007, but must carry out a series of reforms to meet the entry requirements. Some analysts say the delay in forming a government has harmed Bulgaria’s prospects of joining the EU on schedule.

The NMS came second in the election with just under 20 per cent of the vote, ahead of the mainly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) with 12.7 per cent.