Bulgarian socialists’ Koutev apologises – sort of – for AIDS ‘joke’

A week after controversy erupted about his “joke” likening socialism to AIDS, the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s Anton Koutev apologised for the difficulties caused – to the other socialists.

The saga started with Koutev, an MP and the socialist party’s media secretary, giving an interview in which, reportedly, he said that socialism was like AIDS. “Generally, it (socialism) is inherited or sexually transmitted. In our party, it is common for the offspring to become socialists simply because of their fathers,” Koutev said, in what was intended as a reference to his daughter who also has become an active member of the BSP.

In a statement on August 31, Koutev said, “I would like to apologise to all Socialists, who could not do their job because of the fabricated scandal in the past few days. I am sorry that instead of hearing our alternative proposals and criticisms of (ruling party) GERB, society is preoccupied with an insubstantial and tortuous discussion”.

“I am sorry that I was the reason for certain people to demonstrate personal ambitions and unfulfilled schemes since the (socialist party) congress at the expense of social-socialist values. I am sorry that words were used to BSP’s detriment. I am sorry that certain people felt offended due to the fact that I used an ironic reference to my family. I have drawn my conclusions as a politician”.

Earlier, while BSP leader Sergei Stanishev had tried to quell the controversy by saying that the party no longer issued penalties for jokes, a reference to the socialists’ previous incarnation as the Bulgarian Communist Party, senior party leaders did call on Koutev to apologise formally.

The issue was seized on by the faction within the BSP that is close to former socialist leader Georgi Purvanov, who was also the country’s president from 2002 to the beginning of 2012 and who was defeated in a bid to return as the party’s leader this year.

Related story: https://sofiaglobe.com/2012/08/27/stanishev-seeks-to-stop-socialists-seeing-red-over-aids-remark/



The Sofia Globe staff

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