In Bulgaria, the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was overthrown after just six months by a vote of no confidence. In the Sofia parliament, a majority of 124 deputies voted in favor of the motion by the bourgeois opposition party GERB. Petkov was supported by only 115 deputies.

Petkov’s liberal-socialist coalition lost its absolute majority in parliament two weeks ago after the withdrawal of a populist party. There may now be new elections.

The government had only been in office since December. He had promised to fight widespread corruption in the poorest EU country and to reform the judiciary. Petkov blamed his predecessor Boiko Borissow (GERB) and Russia for his fall. After the defeat he said: “This vote is only a small step on a very long way. One day we will have a Bulgaria with no behind-the-scenes actions, no mafia.”

The GERB had justified its application with a “failure of the government in financial and economic policy”. The inflation rate in Bulgaria was 15.6 percent in May. On the day of the vote of no confidence, hauliers protested in front of Parliament against the high fuel prices.

Entertainer Slawi Trifonov’s populist ITN party recently withdrew its four ministers from the previous four-party government in protest at Petkov’s North Macedonia policy. Trifonov accused the head of government of wanting to make concessions to the neighboring country on his own. Bulgaria has been blocking the start of EU membership negotiations with North Macedonia since the end of 2020.