Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Rositsa Dimitrova has resigned following controversy over her trip to a conference in New York for which taxpayers shelled out 8300 leva (about 4243 euro) for the last-minute purchase of an air ticket.
The air ticket was bought at the last minute even though the commitment to attend the conference dated back several months.
With other expenses, Dimitrova’s trip to the 11th UN World Conference on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities cost close to 9000 leva.
Bulgarian is the chairman of the forum for the period 2017-18 and was an organiser of the 10th and 11th sessions.
The Bulgarian government press office said on June 20 that Prime Minister Boiko Borissov had accepted Dimitrova’s resignation.
On June 19, Dimitrova said that she probably had been wrong to go on the trip to New York after she had seen the price of the air travel. But she also said, in a television interview, that she did not regret going because the forum was important.
The controversy was exacerbated by the fact that Bulgaria has seen a series of protests by parents of children with disabilities, demanding reforms.
These protests earlier led to the resignation of Labour and Social Policy Minister Bisser Petkov. Initially, Borissov accepted Petkov’s resignation. However, when protesters joined in calls for his resignation not to be accepted – they said that they sought reforms, not resignations – Borissov reversed himself, and did not accept Petkov’s resignation.
On June 16, Petkov said in a radio interview that Dimitrova had gone on the official trip on his orders and said that calls for her resignation were baseless. He emphasised that Bulgaria was chairman of the forum and people with disabilities were part of Dimitrova’s portfolio.