Widespread Austerity Protests Push Bulgarian Government to Resign

Protesters block traffic during protests against high electricity bills in Sofia February 17, 2013 (Photo: Tsvetelina Belutova/ Reuters)

Widespread Austerity Protests Push Bulgarian Government to Resign

'I can't watch as fences go up around Parliament,' resigning PM states

Following days of anti-austerity protests in Bulgaria, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov announced Wednesday that he and his ruling party will resign, stating: "I can't watch as fences go up around Parliament. If the people want the government to resign then the state needs a new vote of confidence, so the people will decide how the government continues from now on."

Borisov is calling for new elections, which should take place within four months.

Bulgarians have been angered by the government's far reaching austerity measures that have led to "high energy costs, power monopolies, low living standards" amongst governmental corruption, Al Jazeera reports.

The current government has employed widespread wage and pension freezes and tax hikes since Borisov came to power in 2009. Bulgaria currently suffers from an 11.9% unemployment rate.

"He made my day," student Borislav Hadzhiev, 21 stated, commenting on Borisov's resignation. "The truth is that we're living in an extremely poor country."

At least 25 people were taken to the hospital after police clashed with protesters Tuesday night.

"I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people," Borisov added.

Bulgarian's have been protesting in force for several days. On Sunday tens of thousands protested in more than 20 cities.

Al Jazeera reports:

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