Bulgaria's prime minister is removing several key political figures after they were involved in a public scandal over real estate purchases.

Seeking to avoid any setback before the European Parliament elections, Boyko Borissov on Thursday accepted the resignation from parliament of his center-right GERB party's floor leader, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

Tsvetanov, who was seen as the second most influential politician in the country after Borissov, said he is quitting parliament to avoid further speculation that he might use his position to hinder any investigation. He denied any wrongdoing.

Borissov already accepted the resignations of the justice minister and former speaker of parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva, and two other deputy ministers.

The Bulgarian section of Radio Free Europe reported last week that the politicians purchased upscale apartments below market prices. The chief prosecutor's office and the state anti-corruption commission have launched investigations.