The Comeback King

Bulgaria's parliament on Tuesday approved former King Simeon II as the country's new prime minister.

The legislature voted by 141 to 50 in favour of the ex-king, whose National Movement for Simeon II won a June 17 general election and made him the only ex-monarch to have come to power in post-communist eastern Europe.

Simeon's coalition government, due to be approved later on Tuesday, is the first in the Balkan state of eight million people to include representatives of the ethnic Turks who makea up some 10 percent of the population.

Nikolai Vassilev, a 31-year-old U.S-educated emerging markets analyst, is to be deputy prime minister and economy minister. Milen Velchev, 35, a specialist in restructuring external debt who has worked for Merrill Lynch in London, was given the post of finance minister.

Simeon pledged to bring Bulgaria into NATO and the European Union, improve people's lives in 800 days, tackle corruption, speed up reforms, boost growth, cut taxes, attract foreign investors and give a boost to the fledgling capital market.

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