Nikola Minchev, the speaker of the Bulgarian parliament, was ousted from his position on Thursday after the opposition mustered enough votes against him due to accusations of violating the “constitution and the parliament’s rules of procedure” ,transmits MIA.
The move was prompted by a hearing on North Macedonia in the plenary chamber on Wednesday which Minchev opened to the public, meaning confidential documents relating to Prime Minister Kiril Petkov could not be shared.
The opposition feared this was an attempt to block criticism of Petkov, Minchev’s party colleague, and his stance on North Macedonia.
Bulgaria is currently using its veto within the EU to block North Macedonia from starting the process of joining the bloc, in a dispute mainly about rights for the Bulgarian minority there. The documents are thought to reveal a softening in Petkov’s stance.
Thursday’s vote saw 125 parliament members from the conservative Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) of former prime minister Boyko Borisov and from three other parties vote for the dismissal of the 34-year-old Minchev of the We Continue the Change (PP) party.
The government camp, which has only been in power since the end of 2021, came to only 113 votes. It has not had a parliamentary majority for about a week. Minchev’s ouster is seen as a test for the new balance of power in the Bulgarian parliament.
A first motion of no confidence in Petkov’s liberal-socialist coalition, which came to power on a promise to reform the judiciary and fight corruption, is expected next week.