Bulgaria’s nationalist coalition falls out over ‘gay marriage’ referendum proposal

Krassimir Karakachanov’s idea for Bulgaria to hold a referendum “against gay marriage and gender concepts in Bulgaria’s education and legal systems” has been dismissed by his fellow deputy prime minister and fellow co-leader of the nationalist United Patriots as “nonsense”.

The public rift between two of the three co-leaders of the United Patriots, the grouping of far-right and ultra-nationalist parties that is the minority partner in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition government, came amid continuing controversy in Bulgaria over ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

While essentially directed against domestic violence, the Istanbul Convention has been the subject of a disinformation campaign from conservative and nationalist forces that have made much of a purported reference to a “third gender”. Amid this controversy, Borissov’s GERB party has engaged delaying tactics on the question of adoption of the Convention.

The opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party earlier proposed holding a national referendum on whether to adopt the Convention.

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