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LI Bureau to Bulgarian Government: Promote Tolerance, Not Division
Thursday 14 May 2015 16:05

The Bureau of Liberal International at its meeting in Oslo revised the situation in Bulgaria in the months leading to the October local elections. LI’s leadership recalled its statement from December and reiterated its concern about the inclusion of the nationalistic populist party "Patriotic Front" in the national cabinet.

Members of the Bureau expressed concern over the reports that political intolerance towards minorities in Bulgaria is on the increase. In the aftermath of the Bulgarian elections in 2014, LI President of Honour Hans van Baalen MEP warned that “the Patriotic Front, as well as ATAKA, are forces on the extreme right-wing and have constantly spoken out against minorities and European co-operation.” Only two weeks ago the coalition partner in the government Patriotic Front drafted an amendment to election campaign legislation providing that if individuals belonging to a minority use their mother tongue during election campaign, they can be sentenced from 3 to 6 years imprisonment. These proposals are not in conformity with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, a Council of Europe instrument that Bulgaria has still not signed and ratified.

LI President Dr. Juli Minoves re-called his statement from May 2014 in which he emphasises that “liberal values founded the European idea and must be reasserted against far-right rhetoric”.  In that sense, the LI Bureau joined the Movement for Fights and Freedom (LI Full Member) in calling on the other parties in the Bulgarian ruling coalition to distance themselves from this nationalist-populist and xenophobic formation, and put Bulgaria firmly on the path of democratic governance and implementation of reforms in line with Euro-Atlantic values.

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199th Executive Committee
Johannesburg, 27-29 October
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