The coalition government of Kiril Petkov – victorious at the polls in November 2021 after three legislative elections in a row – fell six months after its formation, following a motion of censure voted on Wednesday June 22 by Parliament. Already weakened by strong internal dissension, aggravated by the war in Ukraine, the government of this forty-year-old Harvard graduate no longer had a parliamentary majority since June 8, the nationalist party ITN (“There is such a people”) having then left his quadripartite coalition. Its leader, the singer Stanislav Trifonov, known as “Slavi”, was notably opposed to Kiril Petkov’s policy of openness towards North Macedonia. Bulgaria, a member of the European Union since 2007, vetoes the accession of its small neighbor to the European Union – it has been a candidate since 2005 –, due to historical and cultural disputes.
France, by offering its mediation, had hoped for a green light from Bulgaria to open Skopje’s accession negotiations with Brussels. The fall of the pro-European Bulgarian Prime Minister on the eve of the conference on the Western Balkans, Thursday, June 23, in Brussels, risks compromising any progress. Paradoxically, Kiril Petkov’s political enemy, former Prime Minister Boïko Borissov, has announced that he supports the French roadmap.
It was this tenor of Bulgarian politics who delivered the final blow to Petkov’s government, which wanted to break with the corruption of its predecessor and adopt the euro as early as 2024. With his right-wing coalition GERB-SDS, he brought together without difficulty the necessary votes to approve the motion of censure, officially motivated by “the failure of the government’s economic and financial policy”, while inflation peaked at 15.6% in May. Following European sanctions against Moscow, Gazprom suspended its gas deliveries to Bulgaria in April, further increasing the price of hydrocarbons.
Kiril Petkov may have gathered thousands of supporters – but also opponents – around Parliament in recent days and convinced six dissident ITN deputies, but he will have missed the endorsement of five additional parliamentarians. ” I promise you (…) that one day we will have a successful European state, without any backroom arrangements or mafia’, he said Wednesday after the vote.
Coalition “dislocated from within”
“Kiril Petkov was at the head of a coalition very fragile, built around heterogeneous parties, with divergent ideologies, which were themselves based on coalitions”, explains sociologist Boriana Dimitrova, head of the polling company Alpha Research. And disagreements within the government have multiplied in recent months, whether it is to deliver arms to Ukraine, to approve sanctions against Russia or even to lift the veto on North Macedonia.
You have 34.71% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.