Bulgaria’s PM seeks resignation of Defence Minister

Bulgaria’s Cabinet was meeting in emergency session on February 28 with an agenda including Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s call for Stefan Yanev to resign as Defence Minister.

Petkov said that he had spoken to all leaders of political parties participating in the governing coalition and they had supported the call for the resignation of Yanev, who has been the subject of mounting criticism for disagreeing that the Russian invasion of Ukraine should be called a war.

Yanev went further in a defiant Facebook post on February 27, saying, among other things, that the stability of the government depended on him remaining and that he should not resign at this time, given the geopolitical situation.

Earlier in the term of the current government, Yanev caused controversy by saying that he did not believe that it was necessary for allied military personnel to be deployed in Bulgaria – a statement of policy that had not been co-ordinated with the Prime Minister and that caused concern among Bulgaria’s partners in Nato and the EU.

Addressing a briefing, shown live on public television, ahead of the Cabinet meeting, Petkov said that the meeting had a three-item agenda.

These were how to carry out the evacuation of 140 Bulgarians from Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat – which Petkov said might be an attempt to intimidate, but could not be ignored – and the resignation of Yanev.

“I want to state clearly that I worked successfully during the first caretaker cabinet with him (Yanev, who was caretaker prime minister) and I support the investment policy in the Bulgarian military,” Petkov said.

Yanev’s resignation will be put to Bulgaria’s National Assembly at a special sitting on March 1.

Asked who would be nominated to succeed Yanev as Defence Minister, Petkov said that this would be discussed by the coalition council and announced later on February 28.

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