Most Bulgarian political parties back burqa ban

Even before it has reached the stage of formal debate in committees and in the National Assembly, draft legislation tabled by Bulgaria’s nationalist Patriotic Front coalition that would ban the wearing of the burqa in public places appears poised for approval.

Support for the bill, tabled in Bulgaria’s Parliament on April 20, has been expressed by MPs from the largest party – centre-right GERB, the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, and coalition government minority partner the centre-right Reformist Bloc coalition.

Minority socialist party ABC, a participant in the coalition government, has taken no formal decision but is leaning towards supporting the ban. It is expected that Volen Siderov’s Ataka is likely to support the ban.

The Patriotic Front tabled the bill which would ban the wearing in public of clothes and accessories that partially or wholly conceal the face. Women would be allowed to wear the burqa at home or in mosques.

Breaking the ban would mean a 500 leva (250 euro) fine for a first offence, increasing to 1500 leva and deprivation of social benefits for three months for further offences.

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(Photo: Hans Braxmeier)