New Bulgaria Govt Takes Power, Pro-Kremlin Politicians Cry ‘Betrayal’

The new Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov (R) and the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel (L) after taking the oath at the Parliament in Sofia, Bulgaria, 06 June 2023. EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV

The new government came to power with 132 votes in favour and 69 against.

The two blocs, which are each other's main foes, will take office with a cabinet that will govern for 18 months.

It will be led for the first nine months by We Continue the Change/Democratic Bulgaria, with Nickolay Denkov as prime minister, and for the second nine months by GERB/United Democratic Forces, with Denkov resigning and Mariya Gabriel stepping in.

Since early 2021 Bulgaria has endured repeated elections and rounds of failed coalition talks, only briefly interrupted by the nine-month reformist coalition administration led by We Continue the Change with Kiril Petkov as prime minister.

Both GERB/United Democratic Forces and We Continue the Change/Democratic Bulgaria have framed the partnership as a compromise for Bulgaria's future.

"We have far too many dividing lines with GERB and they won't disappear just because we're creating a cabinet," Hristo Ivanov, leader of Democratic Bulgaria, said in parliament.

Ivanov said he sees the new government as an "interim cabinet but one selected by parliament" and a way for the parliament to have an extended life in which reforms can be passed.

President Rumen Radev remains highly skeptical of the unlikely union, however.

"I hope that parliament won't betray the national interests in the same way the leaders of the coalition have already betrayed their voters," said Radev, who in 2021 helped We Continue the Change's Kiril Petkov and Assen Vassilev launch their career in politics by choosing them in...

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