Long goodbye for four ITN ministers quitting Bulgaria’s government

All four Cabinet ministers from Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party have now tendered their resignations, but they could remain in office for quite some time as it remains unclear when their resignations will be put to the vote in Bulgaria’s National Assembly.

The four – Regional Development Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Grozdan Karadzhov, Foreign Minister Teodora Genchovska, Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov and Sports Minister Radostin Vassilev – submitted their resignations after Trifonov said on June 8 that ITN was leaving the ruling coalition and the parliamentary majority.

Karadzhkov and Vassilev submitted their resignations last week, while Genchovska and Nikolov tendered theirs on June 13, after returning from official trips abroad.

Over the weekend, the Kiril Petkov-Assen Vassilev We Continue the Change (WCC) party, the government mandate-holder, reiterated that getting the Budget amendments approved by Parliament was a priority, ahead of tabling the resignations, and nominee replacements, in the National Assembly.

Provisional plans are for the first reading of the Budget amendments to be debated in Parliament in the second half of this week.

Customarily, the second reading would take place after two weeks after the first reading. Were that to be the case, changes to the Cabinet might not be voted on before the end of June or the beginning of July. However, MPs may vote to shorten the time between the two readings, as they did on one occasion in 2021.

The ruling coalition, which has changed from being quadripartite to tripartite, now may muster 109 out of the 240 seats in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, meaning that it needs 12 MPs to make up the shortfall to get the Budget amendments approved.

WCC is making an effort to recruit those 12 MPs, including from the ITN group, with some unconfirmed reports saying that there are ITN MPs willing to vote with the government, including because they disagree with the decision announced by Trifonov to leave the ruling coalition.

The Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Lena Borislavova, told bTV on June 13 that everything possible would be done to avoid early parliamentary elections before all legislative changes important for the year were approved.

She said that these were, first of all, the Budget amendments, which included a package of anti-crisis measures worth 2.2 billion leva, and second, the package of 22 laws related to being able to receive the funding from the EU’s Recovery and Sustainability Plan.

(From left: Vassilev, Nikolov, Genchovska, Karadzhov. Photos via government.bg)

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