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Bulgaria's government resigns amid protests

From Claudia Rebaza and Carol Jordan, CNN
February 21, 2013 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's government has resigned from office
  • NEW: Parliament is expected to vote on whether to accept the resignation Thursday
  • Bulgaria has been roiled by public protests for more than a week

(CNN) -- Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov tendered his government's resignation Wednesday after eight days of nationwide protests over high energy bills, his office said.

CNN iReport: Protests in Shumen, Bulgaria

The protests against soaring electricity bills have morphed into wider discontent over austerity and the way the country is being run, the official Bulgarian News Agency reported.

Parliament will vote Thursday on whether to accept the Cabinet's resignation, the government said.

Fmr. PM: Bulgarians can't stand it
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If it is accepted, the president will announce an election date.

"We will perform our functions until the election of a new Cabinet and we will do everything possible to ensure continuity," Borisov said in the formal resignation letter read to parliament, according to the Bulgarian News Agency.

The government has done its best to respond to the protesters' demands, the news agency quoted Borisov as saying.

Borisov, who has been prime minister since 2009, earlier told lawmakers his GERB party would not be part of a caretaker government.

Bulgaria, a country of just over 7 million people, held its first free multiparty elections since the Second World War in 1990, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Why Bulgaria? Why now?

CNN's Christine Theodorou and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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