Protests organised in Sofia amid political crisis

The crisis was started by the populist party ITN, led by former showman Slavi Trifonov. ITN left the four-party ruling coalition. [Shutterstock/Circlephoto]

The political crisis in Bulgaria has led to a string of protests and demonstrations ahead of the no-confidence vote later this week.

The crisis was started by the populist party ITN, led by former showman Slavi Trifonov. ITN left the four-party ruling coalition.

Then former ruling party GERB cast a no-confidence vote against Kiril Petkov’s government, and the ITN initiated the removal of Parliament Speaker Nikola Minchev. Meanwhile, some ITN MPs left the party and became independent. But even with their votes, it is questionable whether the government can secure the 121 votes needed in parliament to survive the no-confidence vote.

The removal of Minchev from the speaker’s post sparked the first protest last Thursday. Several thousand people gathered in front of the National Assembly in Sofia to support Minchev and the government and shouted against the new allies – ITN, the pro-Russian nationalist Vazrazhdane party, the Turkish minority party MRF and GERB.

Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov described the protesters as “fascist scum” and accused them of paying paid.

The no-confidence vote will be discussed on Tuesday (21 June) and is expected to be held the next day. A number of protests for and against the government are scheduled for the start of the week in Sofia.

“Monday is the first of these important days in which we call on you to come together to show who we are, what a mad Führer candidate in the National Assembly calls “fascist scum,” stated one of the campaign groups that is preparing one of the protests. “The old status quo has joined forces to halt reforms and was not ashamed to include in this coalition a party that clearly defends the interests of aggressor Putin,” they added.

Another protest in front of the National Assembly in defence of the government was organised through social networks on Tuesday.

Kostadinov used his Facebook account to call on his supporters to protest on the eve of the no-confidence vote. “It is time for the agony of this government and this parliament to end. On Tuesday at 5 pm, I call on all Bulgarians to come out with us in front of the National Assembly to make it clear that Bulgaria belongs to us, the Bulgarians, not to foreign agents and national traitors,” Kostadinov wrote.

Protests supporting the “government of change” are also scheduled for Wednesday in front of the National Assembly.

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