The reformist Democratic Bulgaria coalition said on May 23 that it had lodged a complaint with the Central Election Commission (CEC) against a Vuzrazhdane campaign video for the country’s European Parliament elections depicting a politician machine-gunning people in a plenary hall.
Counsel for Democratic Bulgaria told the CEC that the video violated Bulgaria’s Electoral Code provisions banning campaign materials violating good morals.
As reported by Radio Free Europe’s Bulgarian section, the video, posted on party’s website and Facebook account on May 22, contains a 10-second scene from The Servant Of The People, a popular Ukrainian TV series. In the clip, the leading actor, recently elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, shoots at lawmakers with two automatic weapons.
Reformist Bulgaria said that legislation forbade the use of images of violence against human beings, albeit recreated in the form of a video.
The coalition called on the CEC to penalise Vuzrazhdane.
Vuzrazhdane is one of 13 political parties and eight coalitions standing in Bulgaria’s May 26 2019 European Parliament elections. A party that wants Bulgaria to quit its membership of the European Union and Nato, it is seen as having no chance of winning one of the country’s 17 seats in the European Parliament.
The RFE report said that the CEC could not act against the Vuzhrazhdane video on Facebook because election campaign material on the social network is not subject to regulation.
Separately, on May 23 the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria called on Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov to investigate Vuzhrazhdane, saying that the party was violating the Political Parties Act and the constitution.
The AEJ – Bulgaria quoted party leader Kostadin Kostadinov as having told RFE that the video was directed against media like Radio Free Europe.
The association said that the constitution prohibits parties that aim at forcible seizure of state power, and says the right to express an opinion in order to encourage a crime.
“The shooting of opponents and journalists can by no means be attributed to democratic means and methods but rather creates the sense of pursuit of forcible seizure of state power,” the association said.
It cited the Political Parties Act as saying that at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, Sofia City Court should suspend parties that violate the constitution or systematically violate the law.
“We believe that both grounds exist and therefore we appeal to the Prosecutor-General with a call to fulfill his legal obligations,” the AEJ – Bulgaria said.