The government of Bulgarian Prime Minister Petkov is history after only six months. She was overthrown by a vote of no confidence. A motion to this effect by the opposition party GERB led by ex-Prime Minister Borissov received the necessary majority.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov lost a no-confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday. The junior partner in his weak governing coalition had joined the opposition. The opposition party GERB led by ex-Prime Minister Boyko Borissov brought in the vote of no confidence and was able to gather a majority of 124 MPs in Sofia’s parliament. Petkov was only supported by 115 deputies. There were no abstentions in the vote.

Bulgarian state media described the vote as the first successful no-confidence vote in the country’s modern history. After the parliamentary session, Petkov blamed his predecessor Borissov and Russia for his downfall.

The Harvard graduate and former Canadian citizen described his critics as Russian agents committed to organized crime. At the same time, the 42-year-old promised to keep fighting to make Bulgaria a “normal European country”. After the defeat he said:

“This vote is just a small step on a very long road. One day we will have a Bulgaria without behind-the-scenes actions, without mafia.

The opposition party Vasrashdane (English: rebirth) accused Petkov of being a mouthpiece for “Russian interests” and said he was honored to lead a government that wanted to get to the root of corruption and organized crime. The 42-year-old was in office for almost six months. After the vote of no confidence, he underlined:

“We will continue to fight so that one day we will have a Bulgaria without a mafia, a normal, successful European country.”

Bulgaria is the poorest EU country and has been plagued by widespread corruption for decades.

President Rumen Radev now has three attempts to appoint a new government. If all attempts fail, he would have to dissolve parliament and call new elections – the fourth since April 2021.

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This parliament has “brought only shame and disgrace” to Bulgarian democracy, said Vasrashdane party leader Kostadin Kostadinow on state radio. “The sooner it goes down in history, the better for Bulgaria,” added Kostadinov. The deputy leader of the opposition GERB party, Daniel Mitov, said Petkov’s attempt to pin the blame on Russia was merely the ousted prime minister’s “search” for “an alibi” for his defeat.

The vote of no confidence was basically triggered by the resignation of former TV presenter Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party from Petkov’s governing coalition over budget problems and the government’s willingness to support neighboring North Macedonia’s EU bid. The party was represented by four ministers. Among other things, Trifonov accused the head of government of wanting to make concessions to the neighboring country on his own. Sofia has been blocking the start of talks between Brussels and Skopje on the country’s admission to the EU since late 2020. The background is a dispute between the two countries over history and language.

The break also came amid increasing economic difficulties in the country. The high fuel prices are causing problems for the population. The inflation rate in Bulgaria was 15.6 percent in May. In addition, the prime minister’s anti-Russian stance meant that Bulgaria was cut off from 90 percent of its natural gas supplies.

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In February, Petkov fired Defense Minister Stefan Yanew, a retired brigadier general, accusing him of promoting “Russian narratives.” Yanew had previously described the conflict in Ukraine as a “military operation” and not as a war. The Petkov government also pledged to repair Ukrainian military equipment and support a stronger NATO presence in the east.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky publicly thanked 42-year-old Petkov via short message service Twitter for “his willingness” on Wednesday thankedto campaign for his country to be “granted the status of an EU candidate country”.

Petkow holds a degree in finance from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University. He said he gave up his Canadian citizenship in April 2021 to become Secretary of Commerce in the previous cabinet. However, it later emerged that he had only completed the procedure in August.

In September 2021, Petkov and his fellow Harvard student Assen Wassilew then founded the party “We are continuing the change” (PP). In the parliamentary elections in November, she won 25 percent of the vote. The politician eventually became prime minister in December with the support of 134 MPs and 104 votes against.

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.