Bulgarian PM Petkov’s Cabinet loses vote of no confidence in Parliament

The government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov lost a vote of no confidence in Parliament on June 22, with 123 MPs voting in favour of the motion, 116 opposed and no abstentions. The vote was held 24 hours after the end of a lengthy debate in the National Assembly.

This outcome was expected, given that cable presenter Slavi Trifonov withdrew his ITN party from the government coalition earlier this month, citing the issues of North Macedonia and the Budget revision.

Last week, MPs voted to oust Nikola Minchev, from Petkov’s We Continue the Change, as Speaker of Parliament, a move that was seen as a test whether the motion of no confidence stood a chance to pass.

The votes in favour of the motion of no confidence came from the opposition GERB-UDF of former prime minister Boiko Borissov, predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), Trifonov’s ITN and pro-Russian Vuzrazhdane.

Petkov had sought support for his Cabinet from individual ITN MPs, but his efforts had limited success, with only six MPs defecting from ITN.

Prior to the vote, Petkov said that he would seek to form another government if the motion passed, with the support of more independent MPs should others resign from ITN’s group.

In brief remarks after the vote, Petkov said that “it has been an honour to lead a government that has been brought down by [controversial MRF MP and businessman Delyan] Peevski, Borissov, Trifonov and [Russian ambassador Eleonora] Mitrofanova.”

Although the Cabinet lost the vote, WCC will get another opportunity to form a government as it will receive the first mandate from President Roumen Radev.

Centre-right Democratic Bulgaria and leftist Bulgarian Socialist Party have said that they intended to remain part of the WCC-led coalition.

If those efforts are unsuccessful, the second mandate would go to GERB-UDF, which won the second-largest share of votes in the November 2021 elections.

Should it fail as well, Radev will choose which other parliamentary group to hand the third mandate. Only if that attempt falls short will Radev dissolve the National Assembly and schedule early elections, with a caretaker Cabinet appointed by the President taking office in the meantime.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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