The Bulgarian foreign ministry has complained of “anti-Bulgarian speech” during the local elections in North Macedonia. Sofia’s concerns focus on the PR campaign against Daniela Arsovska, who won the elections in Skopje as the candidate of the opposition VMRO-DPMNE.
The party of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev SDSM attacked Arsovska with accusations that she was hiding her dual citizenship – Macedonian and Bulgarian.
“It doesn’t matter if she is Bulgarian; the more important thing is that she hides and lies,” reads a slogan posted on the SDSM website. Zaev’s party speaks of Arsovska as “the Hungarian consul with Bulgarian citizenship”.
Arsovska herself denies possession of Bulgarian personal documents.
Sofia has radically changed the focus of its demands from Skopje in the last two months. Bulgaria is now pushing for the protection of the citizens of North Macedonia with a Bulgarian identity. Over 120,000 Macedonians have Bulgarian citizenship.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry described the Skopje elections as an “aggressive political campaign related to the deliberate abuse of the topic of Bulgarian citizenship in the election process.”
The ministry also states that it does not accept the continuing discrimination and hate speech against the citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia, who are in some way connected with Bulgaria and the Bulgarian people.
“The events of the past week and the aggressive rhetoric used in the election campaign for mayor of Skopje are another illustrative example of the atmosphere of intolerance and hostility imposed on its citizens with Bulgarian identity and the Republic of Bulgaria,” the position said.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry added that “the failure of this anti-Bulgarian campaign in the last elections shows that it does not meet the support of the citizens of Northern Macedonia.”
“We expect this to be an additional incentive for representatives of all political parties to refrain from using the so-called Bulgarian map in the context of political and social opposition”, the Bulgarian position says.
(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)