Bulgaria’s April elections: Two candidate MPs from fringe parties face fines for hate speech

Bulgaria’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has ruled that two candidate MPs should be fined for using hate speech while participating in programmes broadcast by the country’s public broadcasters ahead of the country’s April 2 2023 early parliamentary elections.

The CEC was acting on complaints lodged with it by broadcast media regulator the Council for Electronic Media.

The complaints involved Ventsislav Angelov of the Truth and Only Truth party and Boyan Rasate of the Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy party. No opinion poll ahead of Bulgaria’s April 2 early parliamentary elections suggests that either of these parties has support that would bring them anywhere near the threshold for a share of seats in the next Parliament.

In the course of Bulgarian National Television’s March 10 weekly Panorama programme, Angelov said: “The gallows will come and we will stretch them on the yellow cobblestones [a reference to the paving in front of Bulgaria’s Parliament] and you should warn Roumen Radev, Boiko Borissov and Delyan Peevski and all the Zionist scum that a new Nuremberg trial is coming”.

Angelov went on to say: “I call on all Zionist satanic scum and Zionists from the small state of Israel to leave Bulgaria”.

Angelov is a former traffic policeman and former night club owner with a record of criminal charges, including for disorderly conduct, cigarette contraband, failure to comply with bankruptcy laws and narcotics dealing. He has spent time in prison for the latter.

In 2020, he was involved in protests against measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and adheres to conspiracy theories regarding the Freemasons and the “Illuminati”. His Truth and Only Truth party participated in Bulgarian parliamentary elections in 2022, receiving a minuscule fraction of the vote.

The other decision by the Central Election Commission involved Rasate, who, appearing on Bulgarian National Radio’s Hristo Botev programme on March 10, described liberalism as a “pederasty, gender abnormal cultural orientation” and described Roma people “as disinterested in community centres, books and other cultural pursuits”.

On Bulgarian National Television on March 10, in remarks described by the Central Election Commission as directed against “certain groups of political activists and citizens”, Rasate said: “Are we going to hang them, are we going to behead them, are we going to shoot them, are we going to try them and put them in jail…”

Rasate – real name Boyan Stankov – has a long track record in far-right extremist politics in Bulgaria.

He was formerly involved with the Bulgarian National Union – Edelweiss, a far-right grouping that reveres fascist antisemite Hristo Lukov, leader of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions at the time of the Second World War. Rasate was also involved in the November 2021 assault on the LGBTQI+ Rainbow Hub centre in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

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