Bulgarian opposition calls for no-confidence vote

SOFIA, Bulgaria , 15 Jun (AP) — Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s centrist coalition government will face a vote of no-confidence brought by the main opposition party on Wednesday, its first since taking power at the end of last year.

The GERB party of former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, is accusing the government of missteps in the areas of public finance and economic policy that have led to a galloping inflation.

“We have lodged a no-confidence motion in the government over its failure in economic and fiscal policy,” said party floor leader Desislava Atanasova, adding that GERB plans to seek support for the motion from all other political groups in parliament.

Bulgaria’s annual consumer price index recorded 15.6% inflation in May, the national statistical institute said, which is the highest year-on-year increase in consumer prices since 2008.

Petkov, 42, and his We Continue the Change party, were elected last year on promises to uproot corruption and introduce deep reforms in the European Union’s poorest member state.

The uphill battle for rapid changes took its first toll as one of the four parties last week withdrew from the ruling coalition, leaving it with 109 lawmakers in the 240-seat National Assembly.

The leader of the populist There is Such People party, Slavi Trifonov, cited disagreements with the revision of the state budget proposed by the prime minister, accusing him of leading the country toward bankruptcy by raising new debt.

He also accused the prime minister of ignoring Bulgaria’s national interests by making concessions to neighboring North Macedonia so it can start European Union accession talks.

Meanwhile, five legislators defected from Trifonov’s group, but the ruling coalition will still need at least seven more votes to guarantee a majority in Parliament, if it wants to survive the vote of no-confidence next week.