An election campaign poster by the far-right Bulgarian National Union-New Democracy party in the country’s early parliamentary elections on October 5 has led to a complaint by an NGO for its depiction of black people in an anti-foreigner message.
The poster has a photograph of three people, a man, woman and child, wearing Bulgarian traditional dress. The text says, in translation, “No thanks! I choose (ballot) number three – Bulgarian National Union-ND”.
The party, led by Boyan Rasate – who in 2013 was in the headlines for his involvement in anti-immigrant “civil patrols” in Sofia – has been campaigning on an ultra-nationalist platform. No opinion poll sees it winning seats in Bulgaria’s 43rd National Assembly.
In a letter to the Central Election Commission, Antoaneta Tsoneva of the Institute for Public Environment Development said that the institute believed the poster was contrary to article 183, paragraph 4, of the Election Act.
This forbids the use of promotional materials that threaten the lives and health of citizens, private, municipal and state property and traffic safety, as well as materials which violate the decency, honour and reputation of the candidates.
She said that she had contacted Rasate by phone to ask whether it was his political group that was distributing the poster. She said that she had been told that the poster was being distributed from October 1 until October 3.
“We urge the CEC to take the action provided for by law to stop the distribution of this election poster,” Tsoneva said.