Wednesday was full of news, expected and unexpected twists, and more! Firstly, during a cabinet meeting (now taking place in outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's kitchen) the government said it would prolong the epidemic situation until the end of May.
Requirements for entering Bulgaria during the tourist season were also unveiled - a valid PCR test or a certified antigen test, with a vaccination certificate or a document proving one has had Covid-19 in the previous six months. Mr Borissov also approved sending the Recovery and development plan to Brussels on Thursday. Additionally, the University of National and World Economy announced it would reinstate Martin Osikovski, the academic dismissed for criticizing its decision to allow Mr Borissov to use its grounds in a pre-election appearance.
Trifonov returns mandate, Parliament work blocked, early vote likely
While the Prime Minister-designate of "There is such a people" party Antoaneta Stefanova received and immediately returned the mandate to form a cabinet from President Rumen Radev, the Bulgarian parliament had a 10-minute long session. In an unprecedented move, the three status-quo parties, GERB, BSP and MRF, did not participate in the vote to approve the weekly program of the National Assembly and practically stalled its work. All parties engaged in recriminations, meaning that this parliament will likely not endure and early elections are imminent. Read more about it in today's story.
Prosecution find links between Russian spies and explosions in Bulgarian munitions factories
State Prosecution spokesperson Siyka Mileva announced on Wednesday that the institution is investigating possible links between the short stays of six Russian citizens - alleged spies - and four cases of explosions in Bulgarian arms and munitions factories and dumps over the past ten years. "The goal of the actions of the Russian citizens was to cut short deliveries of specialized production to Georgia and Ukraine," Ms Mileva said. The announcement comes days after the investigative website Bellingcat and the Bulgarian section of Radio Free Europe made similar allegations. None of the four cases mentioned has been solved so far.
At least 24 percent of Bulgarians exist under the 225 euro poverty line: NSI
Over 1,6 million Bulgarians, or 23,8 percent of the population, are estimated to have lived under the poverty line of 225 euro per month in 2020, the National Statistics Institute (NSI) announced on Wednesday. The poverty line criterion went up 9,2 percent compared to the previous year, but the number of people in relative poverty also increased by 1,2 percent. If pensions and social benefits are taken out of the equation, the proportion of Bulgarians living on less than 225 euro per month goes up to a staggering 41,7 percent, NSI says. Unemployed and people with no or only primary education experience higher rates of poverty, as well as single elderly people (62 percent of those over 65 who live alone fall in the poverty category) and the Roma (66 percent of those who self-identify as Roma live under the threshold).