October 24, 2018 / 7:09 AM / a month ago

Bulgarian government survives no-confidence vote over healthcare

FILE PHOTO: Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov speaks at the Western Balkans Summit in London, Britain, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s government survived a no-confidence vote on Wednesday brought by the opposition Socialists who accused it of failing to overhaul the ailing healthcare sector.

The Socialists said the government, which has been in office since May 2017, had not tackled high debt levels in state hospitals, inefficient management and an exodus of doctors and nurses seeking better pay.

But coalition lawmakers defeated the third no-confidence vote against the centre-right coalition government - 133 out of the 240 members of parliament voted against it.

After the vote, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, deputy leader of ruling GERB party, said the government was “striving to solve the problems that have been piling up for years”.

The health ministry has called for a public debate on healthcare reforms and proposed bringing in obligatory monthly health insurance payments - an option opposed by the Socialists.

Political analysts expect pressure on the coalition government to grow ahead of the elections for the European Parliament in May.

Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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