Bulgarian President’s choice of Western Easter as election date sparks controversy

Bulgarian President’s choice of Western Easter as election date sparks controversy

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev’s decision to decree April 4 2021 as the parliamentary election date has caused controversy because that is the day that Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate Easter this year.

Mladen Shishkov, a member of Parliament for Boiko Borissov’s GERB party, described Radev’s choice of April 4 as scandalous, Bulgarian National Radio reported on January 15.

Shishkov said that Radev had not taken into account that April 4 was the date that Roman Catholics in Bulgaria will celebrate Easter.

On this holy day, people from that community were being put upon to work, because of the operation of polling stations, he said.

Pavel Gudzherov, mayor of Rakovski, the town that is home to much of Bulgaria’s Roman Catholic minority, issued a lengthy appeal to Radev to change the election date.

Gudzherov, also a member of GERB, said that Radev should change the date so that Roman Catholics in Bulgaria could have a “calm, quiet and Christian Easter” with their families.

“We, the Bulgarian Catholics, love two things the most: God and our country…we never choose between one of those two,” said Gudzherov, who listed numerous examples of the positive roles that Roman Catholics had played in Bulgaria’s history.

The majority of Bulgarians say that they adhere to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, which this year celebrates Easter on May 2. In the 2011 census, Protestants and Roman Catholics each added up to about one per cent of the population, although answering the question about religious affiliation was not compulsory.

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