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Bulgarian justice minister resigns amid anti-graft protests

SOFIA, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s Justice Minister Danail Kirilov has tendered his resignation, the government press office said on Wednesday, amid criticism of his efforts to stem corruption.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, under street pressure to quit himself, will discuss whether to accept Kirilov’s resignation with his junior coalition partners in the centre-right government, the press office said in a statement.

Kirilov’s resignation is unlikely to quash street protests that have been taking place daily since July, seeking the ousting of Borissov and Chief Prosecutor Ivan Geshev over their perceived failure to combat high-level graft.

Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007, remains its poorest member. It ranked as the bloc’s most corrupt state according to anti-graft think-tank Transparency International.

“His resignation is not going to stop the protests. If anything, it may give protesters the feeling their actions have an impact,” said Hristo Ivanov, leader of an opposition liberal Yes Bulgaria party, which actively supports the protests.

Kirilov has been criticised for failing to push reforms to streamline graft-prone judiciary and for refusing to nominate a candidate for chief prosecutor last year, leaving Ivan Geshev as the only nominee for the important post.

Kirilov was one of the authors of a new constitution that the ruling GERB party is proposing. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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