Deputy Named Bulgaria's New Education Minister, but Info Soon Denied

January 30, 2013, Wednesday // 11:21
Bulgaria: Deputy Named Bulgaria's New Education Minister, but Info Soon Denied
Milena Damyanova will continue to serve as Bugaria's Deputy Education Minister. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Milena Damyanova, who has been serving as Deputy Education Minister, will head the department, replacing recently dismissed Sergey Ignatov.

This was announced by the government's press office only to deny the information a few minutes later.

Bulgaria's Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, resigned from the post on Monday.

Ignatov submitted his resignation at the request of Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, hours after the resignation of the manager of Bulgaria's embattled and scandal-ridden Scientific Research Fund, Hristo Petrov.

Petrov's resignation was also immediately accepted by Borisov.

The manager deposited his resignation after it emerged that a probe of the Inspectorate at the Council of Ministers had established staggering violations at the Fund such as hiring people without the required qualifications and violations in assessing scientific bids for financing.

At the beginning of December, hundreds of Bulgarian scientists and researchers staged protest rallies in outrage of what they say were Ignatov's attempts to cover-up the scandal at the Fund.

The PM stated Monday that he just learned about the violations and the scandal with financing science and research in Bulgaria and pledged that more heads would roll by the end of the day.

In 2012, 95 out of 1 200 projects have been approved for financing in the total amount of BGN 14.8 M, triggering outrage in the scientific community over what they see as lack of transparency and conflict of interests.

Many insist the money is actually given to companies close to the private New Bulgarian University, NBU, of which Ignatov was President before becoming Minister.

At a hearing before the Parliamentary Education Commission, Ignatov denied any wrongdoing at the Fund.


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