Bulgaria is marked by political crises. The Bulgarian coalition government led by the pro-European Kiril Petkov entered a new one on Wednesday dead end by the loss of a motion of no confidence in Parliament brought by the conservative opposition GERB on the pretext of escalating energy prices and disagreements with the executive branch, strengthened by the war in Ukraine. The Balkan country with around 6.5 million inhabitants is once again in danger of falling into an election spiral: the fourth in less than a year and a half.
A Harvard-educated economist who was sworn in as prime minister in mid-December to stamp out rampant corruption after decades of rule by controversial Boyko Borissov; Petkov has garnered the support of 116 MPs, compared to the 123 who voted against the executive. To save him, the prime minister counted on the votes of his formation We Continue Change (PP, central-liberal in nature) and on the votes of two groups in the coalition that elected him: the Socialists, heirs to the Communist Party and Democratic Bulgaria, Euro-Atlantic Tilt. It wasn’t enough.
The loss of confidence in the executive branch of popular singer Slavi Trifonov, which has been shown for weeks by the populist party There Is Such a People (ITN), has condemned a government called upon to rescue the Bulgarian people from the laziness in which they were anchored at the bottom the European Union on poverty. At the beginning of June, the anti-system formation withdrew its four ministers from the government, citing poor budgetary management as the reason for the decision, but also the government’s intention to lift the Bulgarian veto so that negotiations on EU accession could begin. Neighbor North Macedonia. To unblock the neighboring country’s entry into the common bloc, Sofia urges Skopje to recognize that both countries share a common history and language. The current interim prime minister, who took an unusual line in Bulgaria since the invasion of Ukraine by showing himself against Russia, has blamed both Moscow and the powerful Bulgarian mafia for his downfall.
“This vote is just a small step on a very long road. I promise that we will continue this fight to conquer our land. One day we will have Bulgaria without people ruling from the shadows, without a mafia… A normal country, a successful European country,” Petkov declared in his last speech as prime minister. He also mentioned the Russian ambassador in Sofia, whom he accused of using her influence to remove him from office. Despite its heavy reliance on Russian energy, Sofia refused to give in to the Kremlin’s request to open an account in rubles to pay for the gas and suffered supply cuts as a result.
Much of the political debate in recent days has focused on the position of singer Trifonov and whether he would leave the government on the advice of Bulgaria’s powerful oligarchic mafia. The idea was promoted by a group of deputies from Trifonov’s own party, who switched to Petkov’s party precisely because they believed their own party, they said, sided with the mafia groups. Some arguments that Trifonov called absurd.
The motion of confidence pushed by GERB was able to move forward thanks to the support of the Turkish ethnic party DPS and the pro-Russian ultra-nationalists of Vazrazhdane (Renaissance). Although President Rumen Radev loses the motion of no confidence, he must trust Pekov’s party to form a new government (because they are the majority), which has a week to form an alternative parliamentary majority. In the event of failure, it would be the turn of the party with the second-highest votes, the GERB, which would have another seven days to forge an executive. Failing that either, the head of state could delegate the task to a third formation before dissolving parliament and calling new elections. In this case, the elections would take place in the autumn.
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