Bulgaria: City council rejects call for Plovdiv 2019 artistic director to resign

An April 8 special meeting of the Plovdiv City Council, called at the request of nationalist and socialist critics of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and of the planned Balkan Pride event, rejected a call for the resignation of the foundation’s artistic director.

The special meeting was denounced by those who rejected its premise as nothing more than an electioneering event and a platform to allow the language of hatred to enter the council chamber.

For weeks, the Balkan Pride event – part of the programme of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019 – has been under fire from far-right and ultra-nationalist politicians in the city. In the debates, on the financial records of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and the call for a request for the resignation of foundation artistic director Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, it was made clear that the city councillors do not have the authority to dismiss the artistic director. They may only recommend that the executive board dismiss Kuyumdzhieva, but that proposal did not win majority support either.

The meeting also saw a call for the resignation of Plovdiv mayor Ivan Totev as chairman of the management board of the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation, a proposal that was rejected. A call for the entire management board to resign also was rejected.

“I will not allow the munitions of the Plovdiv municipal council to be thrown against the European Capital of Culture 2019 project. There is a fundamental misunderstanding about this massive initiative and I am very annoyed that the quality of the debate is being reduced to such a low level,” Totev said. Read more via Sofia Globe