Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The Bulgarian government is unstable again as the administration headed by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov faces a vote of no confidence.
The vote on Wednesday threatens to topple the four-party coalition government that took office about six months ago, according to Reuters reporting.
Petkov’s government pledged to crack down on corruption and took a hardline stance on Russia, but started to fall apart earlier this month over disagreements on North Macedonia and budget spending.
If the government falls, Bulgaria will hold the fourth national election in the last 14 months, which would put at risk absorption of EU recovery funds and plans to join the eurozone in two years.
Government instability could also prevent Bulgaria from securing a supply of natural gas, which the country imported from Russia before it refused to switch payments to roubles and Moscow stopped the flow.
Petkov pointed out on Tuesday at a parliamentary discussion on the vote of no confidence that the Government needs support from MPs to address rising inflation and effects of the war in Ukraine.
“This government will not allow stealing from Bulgarian taxpayers,” he stressed and added “you need to decide – you have a genuine chance to push the country into political crisis in times of war.”
While Bulgaria is traditionally friendly with Russia, Petkov holds strong pro-NATO and pro-EU positions.
He replaced the Minister of Defence in February for refusing to refer to the conflict in Ukraine as war, supported EU sanctions against Russia and agreed to provide military aid to Ukraine in the form of repairs of heavy military equipment.
Political analyst Dobromir Zhivkov expressed doubt that Petkov could secure stable support in the parliament even if the vote of no confidence fails, stressing that “early elections are very much on the table.”
While six MPs from the ranks of the opposition switched sides and pledged to support Petkov, the government is still six votes short of absolute majority in the parliament.Bulgaria reported annual rate of inflation of 15.6% in May, reaching a 24-year high, with Minister of Finance Asen Vasilev stressing that the rise was largely due to rising prices of energy and food, and adding that the conflict in Ukraine is the main driver of inflation.