Friday was a turbulent day for Bulgarian politics. The fight over the governorship of the Bulgarian National Bank, which has been tearing the coalition apart for the past two weeks, fired up again as TIPS candidate Lyubomir Karimanski claimed he was pressured to withdraw his nomination. Democratic Bulgaria, for their part, proposed that both nominees withdraw from the race and the procedure be relaunched.
Meanwhile, road workers nationwide protested against the decision of Parliament to postpone payments to road maintenance companies over allegedly corrupt contracts and were joined by current Infrastructure Minister Grozdan Karadjov. In other news:
Prime Minister in U-turn over dismissing Russian Ambassador to Sofia
"If we designate Ambassador Eleonora Mitrofanova as persona non grata, we will completely cut off relations with Russia. I would not take such risks that may compromise the lives [of the stranded crewmembers of a Bulgarian ship docked in Mariupol]. We need to consider the bigger picture," Mr Petkov told reporters today, referring to the crew of Bulgarian sailors that had been caught in the crossfire in the besieged city. Mr Petkov's announcement ran contrary to earlier comments made by his deputy, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev, who claimed that a cabinet decision to dismiss Ms Mitrofanova would be forthcoming by the end of the day on Thursday.
Sofia proposes to Brussels to halve excise duties on fuels in bid to cut prices
Bulgaria has proposed to the European Commission to cut down excise duties on fuels by half as an anti-crisis measure that aims to overcome the problem of high energy prices, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev told Parliament during a Q&A session on Friday. The proposal is already being discussed and if it is adopted, Bulgaria will immediately reduce the excise duty on fuel, and if not - a new package will be thought of to support businesses and households who are facing high fuel prices, Mr Vassilev said.
Industrial production rises by 14.5 percent in February year-on-year: NSI
In February 2022, industrial production in Bulgaria increased by 14.5 percent compared to the same period in 2021, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) announced on Friday. The year-on-year growth has been mostly driven by the production and distribution of electricity, heat and gas, which rose by 28.7 percent, the extractive industry, which grew by 16.9 percent and by manufacturing industry, up 11.9 percent.