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Bulgaria faces fresh political turmoil as government loses confidence vote

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Kiril Petkov, co-leader of the We Continue the Change party, talks to journalists in Sofia, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.
Kiril Petkov, co-leader of the We Continue the Change party, talks to journalists in Sofia, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.   -   Copyright  Valentina Petrova/AP

The Bulgarian government of liberal Prime Minister Kiril Petkov was toppled on Wednesday by a motion of no confidence, plunging the country into a new political crisis after three elections last year.

The text was adopted by 123 deputies, while 116 voted against, out of 240 seats, announced the deputy speaker of parliament Miroslav Ivanov.

It comes just six months after Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and the "We Continue the Change" party came to power in December.

Petkov was elected on his promises to uproot corruption and introduce reforms in the European Union’s poorest member state.

But his centrist government was weakened when the populist "There Is Such People" (ITN) party withdrew from the coalition.

ITN party leader Slavi Trifonov has disagreed with Petkov over the country's revised state budget and has accused the PM of leading Bulgaria towards bankruptcy by raising new debt.

He also accused the Petkov of ignoring Bulgaria’s national interests by making concessions to neighbouring North Macedonia ahead of EU accession talks.

Members of the main opposition GERB party have further condemned the coalition government for failing to prevent rising inflation.

“We have lodged a no-confidence motion in the government over its failure in economic and fiscal policy,” said GERB party parliament leader Desislava Atanasova.

After losing five MPs from the ITN, Petkov could only rely on the support of 114 lawmakers in the 240-seat National Assembly.

This defeat for the government could trigger the fourth election in Bulgaria since April 2021.

Last week, Petkov called for "courageous and responsible" voices in parliament, warning against "a spiral" of new elections.

"It would be a disaster and time wasted at a crucial time," he told reporters.

Polls in Bulgaria also show a rise in the popularity of the nationalist, pro-Russian Vazrajdane party following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.