Pavel Shopov, an MP for the nationalist United Patriots and a long-standing member of Volen Siderov’s Ataka party, told Bulgaria’s Parliament on July 28 that the Commission for Protection against Discrimination is “redundant” and should be shut down.
Closing down the commission would save taxpayers’ money, Shopov said as Parliament voted a new head of the commission.
If there was any discrimination in Bulgaria, it was against Bulgarians, he said.
Shopov, a former judge whose career in Parliament started in the 36th National Assembly as an MP for the centre-right Union of Democratic Forces coalition, was re-elected to a succession of Parliaments from the 40th onwards as an MP for Ataka, which now is part of the United Patriots, the minority partner in the current Borissov government.
Shopov said that the commission was a “reserved place” for the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The MRF traditionally has been led and supported in the main by Bulgarians of Turkish ethnicity.
He said that the commission, as a state institution, should protect Bulgarians “who increasingly are being discriminated against by accusing them of intolerance”.
In the vote in Parliament, Anna Dzhumalieva, who has a master’s degree in law, was re-elected head of the commission, having been nominated by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party.
Baki Husseinov, nominated by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, was re-elected deputy head of the commission.
Responding to Shopov’s statements, MRF MP Halil Letifov called for the language of hatred not to be permittted in the Bulgarian Parliament.