Bulgaria Risks More Instability as New Coalition Talks Fail

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov arrives for the European Council Summit in Brussels, Belgium, 24 March 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND

"We can't find 121 MPs who are not afraid", Petkov told the media, referring to the number needed for a majority in parliament, and the influence that criminal structures allegedly have on parliament.

The party, which came first in last November's elections, was given a fresh mandate by President Rumen Radev after Petkov's cabinet was ousted on June 22 in a no-confidence vote.

The move was initiated after the government lost its majority. On June 8, "There's Such a People" leader Slavi Trifonov announced the sudden exit of his party from the ruling coalition, citing distrust in Petkov on a number of issues.

These included his alleged plans to lift Bulgaria's blockade on the start of North Macedonia's EU membership talks. Several members left the "There's Such a People" party, citing its alleged ties with the criminal world, and unclear politics.

In turn, Petkov said that "There's Such a People's" role in the coalition was only to pretend to be reformist, while actually trying to keep going a corrupt scheme of state funds going to illegal firms working in infrastructure.

According to Petkov and his Deputy, Assen Vassilev, this was a legacy of corruption dating from the time of former PM Borissov and his GERB party. 

Bulgaria will go likely to new elections in late-September. An interim cabinet, selected by President Radev, who became increasingly hostile to Petkov's reformist government since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine and was skeptical of Bulgaria's row with Russia's Gazprom, will govern until then. 

At an upcoming meeting with the President later...

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