October 15, 2018 / 4:02 PM / a month ago

Bulgaria's government faces no-confidence vote over healthcare

SOFIA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s main opposition party filed a motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s government on Monday, saying it had failed to overhaul the ailing health care sector.

This is the third attempt by the Socialist Party (BSP) to topple the ruling coalition this year and like the previous ones it is likely to fail as the centre-right government has a small majority in parliament.

The Socialists, who have 79 seats in the 240-seat parliament, have not secured the backing of any other party.

Their leader, Kornelia Ninova, said the BSP wanted to underline the dire state of healthcare services in the Balkan country and the failure of the government, in office since May 2017, to improve the situation.

“Hundreds of thousands Bulgarians cannot get medical treatment because they have no access to a doctor or a hospital or do not have money for treatment,” Ninova told reporters.

The Socialists also pointed to the exodus of doctors and nurses abroad due to low pay at home, inefficient management and the high debt levels of state and municipal hospitals.

The motion comes at a time when the health ministry has opened a public debate on reforms needed to improve health care services.

“We have seen that the model only with fuelling more money is not enough, maybe the system needs a restart and we will find the right formula,” said Alexander Ivanov, a lawmaker with ruling centre-right GERB party.

The motion is expected to be debated and voted on this week or next, he said. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov and Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Ed Osmond)

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