WSJ: Bulgaria's Govt Shifts toward Populist Economic Policies

February 19, 2013, Tuesday // 11:36
Bulgaria: WSJ: Bulgaria's Govt Shifts toward Populist Economic Policies

The dismissal of Bulgaria's finance minister foreshadows a shift toward more-populist economic policies ahead of national elections set for July, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"Djankov was the figure who symbolized fiscal and financial discipline. The whole economic policy was based on these priorities," Daniel Smilov, program director at the Center for Liberal Strategies, a Sofia-based think tank, told the Wall Street Journal.

"Now there is an expectation that some change in economic course is imminent and that may make some people nervous."

Simeon Djankov, a former World Bank official, won the respect of financial markets for undertaking painful reforms but courted controversy in Bulgaria as a fiscal hawk, the Wall Street Journal points out.

Bulgaria's finance minister stepped down on Monday after tens of thousands of people took to the streets over the weekend to protest electricity prices, raising pressure on the government, which until recently had managed to retain its popularity despite an austerity drive.

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