Bulgarians demand end to high power bills and energy monopolies

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Tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Bulgaria yesterday, demanding an end to high power bills and new voting rules after the government was toppled last week.

Public anger with power monopolies in the European Union’s poorest state forced right-of-centre prime minister Boiko Borisov’s cabinet to resign and has put the country on track for an early election by May.

Much of the anger has been directed at power companies including Czech CEZ and Energo-Pro and Austria’s EVN, which bought exclusive rights to distribute energy in specific regions from Bulgaria in 2004.

Waving Bulgarian flags and slogans reading “Fighting for decent life” and “Down with monopolies” more than 10,000 Bulgarians marched through central Sofia.

“For years and years the politicians failed to impose strict controls over monopolies. This should stop,” said 54-year-old Irena Mitova, a shop owner in Sofia.

Demonstrations also took place in around 40 other cities.