Political tensions intensified on Thursday as the six parties elected to parliament exchanged fire. Yesterday, outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borissov "offered" the leader of the runner-up party "There is such a party" Slavi Trifonov ten of GERB's MPs in order to allow him to form a government and "assume political responsibility". In a brief response over Facebook, Mr Trifonov - who has not made public statements since the Sunday vote - said that he and his party would follow the Constitution and make their proposal for cabinet after GERB.
Borissov refuses to takes his seat as MP in an "all-out" bid for power
During a morning visit to the Rila Monastery, Mr Borissov announced he would not take his parliamentary seat and therefore not take advantage of the immunity from investigation it brings. So either the outgoing Prime Minister is preparing to either make a final, all-out attempt to retain power for a fourth mandate, or he will finally retire from politics - at least for the time being. Yesterday, two ministers from his cabinet - Denitsa Sacheva and Ekaterina Zaharieva - mentioned for the first time the possibility that somebody other than Mr Borissov might be the new GERB nominee for Prime Minister. It is also not inconceivable that Mr Borissov is mulling a presidential bid for the autumn.
Media freedom and freedom of association "further deteriorated": Amnesty International
In its annual report "The state of the world's human rights" watchdog Amnesty International decried the "further deterioration" of media freedom and freedom of association in Bulgaria. The organization highlighted instances where authorities intimidated journalists and critics and cracked down on anti-government protests last summer. "Authorities placed some Roma communities under mandatory COVID-19 quarantines and severely restricted their movement," the report states, noting that high-level politicians have engaged in openly racist rhetoric towards Roma. Domestic violence remained widespread and resources to support victims were insufficient, the report continues, adding that members of the LGBTI community "faced discrimination and social exclusion".
Schools and universities reopen partially despite Covid deaths passing 14,000
Against the backdrop of Covid-19 surpassing the 14,000 mark and "fragile trends" of decreasing overall infection rates, the health and education authorities announced relaxation of the anti-pandemic restrictions. Schoolchildren from 1-st to 7-th grade, as well as their peers from grades 7, 8 and 12, will revert to in-person schooling from Monday 12 April. Additionally, practical exercises in universities will also happen in-person and non-food supermarkets will be allowed to open for business, albeit with limited capacity. If the situation improves, the plan is for pupils from other classes to return by 26 April. Health Minister Kostadin Angelov also called for a united European position on the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been associated with occasional blood clot risks, and warned General Practitioners to administer the vaccine with "increased attention."