Bulgaria’s parliament ousted the speaker on Thursday in a new blow to the coalition government of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, who faces a vote of no-confidence next week.
The opposition parties and the populist ITN party, which quit the four-party coalition last week, voted to remove Nikola Minchev – who is from Petkov’s party – from the post on accusations he had breached the chamber’s rules. Minchev denied any wrongdoing.
Embattled Petkov, whose government took office only six months ago, said Minchev’s removal was due to a “new coalition being formed between all opposition parties and the people who stayed in the ITN“.
Analysts say Minchev’s ousting showcased the new balances in parliament, and signalled Petkov’s government could fall in a vote of no-confidence next week. That would send the Balkan country into a new round of political turmoil.
Petkov, who came to office in December after a prolonged political crisis on pledges to tackle high-level corruption in the European Union’s poorest country, expressed hopes he could still find seven deputies needed to restore majority.
An eventual government collapse would likely lead to new elections in the autumn amid a war in Ukraine and surging inflation, running at a 24-year high.