site.btaUPDATED Petkov Cabinet Fails No Confidence Vote
Bulgaria's Parliament on Wednesday voted, 123 to 116 with no abstentions, to pass a motion of no confidence against the Government of Kiril Petkov that was entered on June 16 by the largest opposition GERB-UDF Parliamentary Group over the Cabinet's alleged failure in the area of public finances and its economic policy.
Passage of the motion required a majority of 121 MPs (more than half of the 240 altogether). Any other result would imply that the motion is defeated.
The votes in favour of the motion came from GERB-UDF (59), the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) (33), the nationalist Vazrazhdane Party (12) and There Is Such a People (TISP) (19), which until a week ago was part of the government coalition. Those against were the MPs of Continue the Change, BSP for Bulgaria and Democratic Bulgaria.
Addressing the legislature after the vote, Prime Minister Petkov said: "It was an honour for me to lead a government that was toppled by [MRF MP Delyan] Mr Peevski, [GERB leader] Mr [Boyko] Borissov, [TISP leader] Mr [Slavi] Trifonov and [Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria] Ms [Eleonora] Mitrofanova. This vote is just a small step in a very long journey. I promise that we will continue to win our state back and one day we will have a successful European state, without backstage dealings and mafia. Thank you!"
The odds were against the Cabinet's survival, but Petkov apparently got support from breakaways from TISP. Six TISP MPs have already quit their party over its decision to leave the government coalition and go into opposition.
While all governments in Bulgaria's recent democratic history have faced motions of no confidence, the Petkov Cabinet is the first to be ousted by this parliamentary procedure.
With the Cabinet's resignation now in order, the President of the Republic will have to mandate a prime minister-designate nominated by the numerically largest parliamentary group (Continue the Change) to form a cabinet. If they fail, the mandate will go to the second largest group (GERB-UDF). For the third such attempt, the head of State can pick a group of his choice. If even this mandate remains unfulfilled, the President must appoint a caretaker cabinet, dissolve Parliament, and schedule early parliamentary elections within two months.
Petkov told NOVA after the vote in Parliament that Continue the Change will propose the same cabinet lineup as before. Asked if Finance Minister Assen Vassilev will be nominated for prime minister, Petkov said that Vassilev is the best finance minister he knows and is great at his job. He also explained that there is no way a future cabinet involving Continue the Change can include people like outgoing Regional Development and Public Works Minister Grozdan Karadjov (of TISP).
GERB Deputy Chair Tomislav Donchev told a news conference after the vote that if his party is mandated to form a cabinet, it will decline it immediately "because it is not right for the second largest political force to put together a government."
Asked by journalists whether his party will hold negotiations with Continue the Change if the latter is mandated to form a cabinet, TISP Floor Leader Toshko Yordanov said that "if they send invitations to political forces, we will probably talk. The way we talk will probably produce something, if anything at all." "Imagine how low this government has sunk to force us to do this thing after we were driven out of that coalition because the coalition agreement was not observed."