Bulgaria. An economic reform program began at the
beginning of the year when privatization coupons in 1,063
state-owned companies were sold to citizens. However, the
economy in the country became worse during the year, and
half of the state's budget was used to pay interest. GDP
fell by eight per cent, and inflation amounted to 260 per
cent at the end of the year. The currency dropped in value,
and the foreign exchange reserve decreased. In November, the
financial crisis became acute, and bank customers
increasingly took out their savings and bought dollars.
Countryaah.com, the political consequences of the economic crisis were
numerous. The November presidential election resulted in the
opposition candidate, right-wing politician Petar Stojanov,
being elected president. He received just under 60 percent
of the vote, while the government candidate, socialist Ivan
Marazov, received just over 40 percent.
The country's socialist Prime Minister Zjan Videnov
resigned from his post in the days before Christmas, both as
head of government and as party leader of the Socialist
Party, Bulgarian Sotsialisticheska Partiya, after he was
severely criticized for his way of dealing with the economic
New party leader was appointed 39-year-old historian
Georgij Parvanov, who, however, resigned the Prime
Minister's post. No new prime minister was appointed before
the turn of the year.
King Simeon II returned to his homeland after 50 years.
He was overthrown as a nine-year-old by the communist regime
in 1946 and forced into exile. Simeon wants to establish
constitutional monarchy in Bulgaria, for which there is only
16 percent support for opinion in the country.