Bulgaria Bids Farewell to Late Ex-PM Berov

People | December 12, 2006, Tuesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Bids Farewell to Late Ex-PM Berov President Georgi Parvanov bowed head and laid a wreath on the coffin of former PM Lyuben Berov, who passed away on December 7. Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)

Bulgarian officials, friends and family gathered Tuesday to pay last farewell to former Prime Minister of Bulgaria Lyuben Berov.

President Georgi Parvanov and Parliament Speaker Georgi Pirinski bowed heads in memory of an economist and scholar, who took the prime ministerial job in time of turbulence and political infighting.

Incumbent Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev did not attend the funeral ceremony, as he has left on a surprising visit to Baghdad to meet Bulgarian troops in Iraq. But in a letter of condolences he had said: "I will always remember the big persona and the teacher Lyuben Berov".

Lyuben Berov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, 1992-94, was born on October 6, 1925. He died on December 7, 2006, aged 81.

Trained as an economist, and more particularly as an economic historian, Berov had become economic adviser to President Zhelyu Zhelev in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Communist regime.

It was a tough climate in which to be an adviser, The British Times wrote in an In-Memoriam article. The Socialist-dominated Government had suspended payment on Bulgaria's overseas debt, trading patterns were being torn apart by the collapse of the Comecon trading bloc, inflation and unemployment were rising inexorably and, worst of all, observance of UN sanctions on Iraq had deprived Bulgaria of huge amounts of oil.

But Berov's steady nerve and his readiness to combine elements of the old and the new economic dogmas impressed Zhelev.

When the Government of Filip Dimitrov collapsed in October 1992 Zhelev was obliged to ask the leaders of the political parties to see if any could cobble together a Cabinet; none could and thus it was to Berov that Zhelev turned.

Promised the parliamentary backing and sponsorship of the mainly Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), which held the balance between the two main parties, Berov formed a non-party Cabinet of experts.

His first priority was to tackle the economic problem and to try to push forward the flagging reform process. He produced an economic "plan of action" in February 1993, but it failed to command widespread support.
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