Questions for Bulgaria’s ruling coalition as ‘Patriots’ split

Clarity is awaited on what the split in ultra-nationalist coalition the United Patriots means – if anything – for the future of Bulgaria’s ruling majority.

On July 25, two of the parties in the United Patriots voted to expel Ataka leader Volen Siderov and two of his closest party allies from the parliamentary group, a move that came after months of open bitter infighting.

When GERB party leader Boiko Borissov formed his third government in 2017, the number of seats won by the United Patriots provided the number – 122 out of 240 MPs – to secure a ruling majority.

The coalition government agreement of the time provided that the third Borissov government should, unlike his first two, serve out a full term in office.

Notably, the move against Ataka saw four of the MPs from its quota in the United Patriots group not expelled.

One question is whether the remaining four will leave in solidarity with Siderov. Another question is whether Siderov and his MPs will continue – generally – voting with the government (on some issues, Ataka has opposed the government, a prominent recent example being their rejection of the F-16 deal.)

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