Week in Review: Juggling Acts and Trojan Horses
On the Brink
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov arrives for the European Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 24 March 2022.-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND
In December 2021, after three inconclusive Parliamentary elections, a new government led by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was finally sworn into office in Sofia. Bulgarians hoped that this would at long last herald a period of government stability in their country, perhaps even some long-overdue governance reforms.
All of this was brought into question on June 8, when the leader of There's Such a People Slavi Trifonov, a former TV entertainer, announced that he and his party would leave the Petkov Government. Without their support, the future of the Bulgarian Government looks highly uncertain, even if new elections are not a foregone conclusion.
Read more: Bulgaria's Wounded Government Seen Hobbling on, For Now (June 14, 2022)
North Macedonia's opposition VMRO DPMNE leader, Hristijan Mickoski. Photo: BIRN/Vlado Apostolov
The knock on effect of the Bulgarian ruling coalition's woes will doubtless be felt beyond the country's borders, particularly in North Macedonia. Among Trifonov's stated reasons for abandoning the ruling majority are Prime Minister Kiril Petkov's attempts to clinch a deal with Skopje aimed at unblocking North Macedonia's EU accession process.
When it comes to the bilateral dispute between the two countries, one element of a likely deal would be including Bulgarians in the preamble to North Macedonia's constitution, as a constituent people, alongside other minorities such as Albanians, Serbs, Turks or Bosniaks. In one of our interviews this week, we talk to Hristijan Mickoski, the leader of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE,...