Updated: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 11:59 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013, 10:42 AM EDT
SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — A diplomat was appointed as Bulgaria's interim prime minister on Tuesday to lead a caretaker government until a national election is held in May.
U.S.-born Marin Raikov, the country's ambassador to France, will lead the interim government of experts whose main task will be to guarantee stability in a Balkan nation, which was shaken by weeklong protests against poverty and corruption that led a center-right government to resign.
President Rosen Plevneliev, who announced Tuesday's appointment, said he will dissolve the current legislature on Friday, and set the election for May 12.
Raikov, 52, who also will serve as interim foreign minister, promised a fair election and said Bulgaria will stick to its commitments as a member of NATO and the European Union.
Raikov, a former deputy foreign minister, said that while following "strictly the 2013 budget framework" he will take steps "to improve the incomes of pensioners and the poorest."
The 16-member caretaker government will include Kalin Hristov, the deputy head of the central bank, as finance minister, and Petya Parvanova, the first woman to serve as head of the country's Interior Ministry.
Bulgaria's anti-government demonstrations began in mid-February against high utility bills and widespread poverty, then grew into nationwide civil unrest challenging the established order. That prompted the central government to resign.
On March 6, a Bulgarian mayor stepped down as his country held a nationwide day of mourning for a man who committed suicide in a protest demanding the official's resignation.