July 16 - Thousands of Bulgarians are vowing to set a world record by staging daily protests until their government listens to their call for new elections. As Sonia Legg reports they say the EU's poorest nation is riddled with corruption.
Every day for more than a month thousands of protesters have taken to the streets. Morning and evening they've held mass demonstrations demanding a change of political leadership. It may sound familiar but this isn't Greece or Spain - it's Bulgaria - a Black Sea nation which only joined the European Union six years ago and is the poorest of its 28 members. (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) PROTESTER, IVO (LAST NAME UNKNOWN), SAYING: "No politician has paid any attention to us for 31 days but we shall stay for a hundred if we have to - they can't be that hard-headed." (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF "INSTITUTE FOR MARKET ECONOMY", KRASEN STANCHEV, SAYING: "The government should go and must go. They mis-used the voters' confidence and the country must have new elections." Most of the demonstrators are young, well-educated and employed. They protest before and after work. At first they simply objected to the appointment of a young media mogul who'd been made head of the national security service without proper debate. But now they have a bigger target - the entire government. They say it's corrupt which discourages foreign investment and keeps living standards low. Boryana Dimitrova is Head of Alpha Reserach Sociology Agency (SOUNDBITE) (Bulgarian) HEAD OF "ALPHA-RESEARCH" SOCIOLOGY AGENCY, BORYANA DIMITROVA, SAYING: "These protests are not for pensions, for salaries or energy, these protests are for moral values, for the way the country is being ruled." The current government is only two months old. High utility prices and corruption toppled the last one. The new technocrat prime minister Plamen Oresharski has largely ignored the protests But there are no plans to stop them - the demonstrators have vowed to set a world record of the longest daily protests and "the most impudent government."