Bulgaria's Peshtera Town Hall Condemns School Propaganda Event

Politics » DOMESTIC | April 21, 2011, Thursday // 12:48
Bulgaria's Peshtera Town Hall Condemns School Propaganda Event: Bulgaria's Peshtera Town Hall Condemns School Propaganda Event Bulgaria's Education Minister Sergey Ignatov, says principals and school administrators could be fired over a student contest the public sees as a political propaganda event. Photo by BGNES

The municipal council in Bulgaria's town of Peshtera adopted Thursday a declaration condemning political propaganda during a school event.

All 13 members of the council have voted yes on the declaration, joining in opinions that it was wrong and outrageous to use school students for political gains, and that the event was a shameful and humiliating incident tarnishing the town's reputation.

The scandal flared at the beginning of the week, after it was reported that students from the town of Peshtera have taken part in a contest to solve historical, logic and sports problems with teams receiving one word as prize for each successful solution. The final phrase ended reading "We Are GERB, We Are Stronger with You."

In the aftermath, the Member of the Parliament from the ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB party, Krasimira Simeonova, issued an official apology to the residents of the town. She declared she was assuming full responsibility, but said she would not leave the party over the blunder.

The councilmen and women from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, said during the Thursday meeting they want Simeonova to vacate her spot as MP from Peshtera.

The Mayor, Stelyan Varsanov, told the media he agrees with the declaration, but believes that one dismissal over the blunder is sufficient. On Tuesday, Varsanov fired the Head of the Municipal Committee for the Fight with anti-Social Activities, Galina Vodenicharova.

When asked why he did take place in the official cutting of a cake for the participants, decorated with letters, reading GERB, the Mayor replied he had been taken on by surprise when he had been presented with the cake at the end of the event, adding he did not feel any guilt thus would not resign.

On Thursday, Education Minister, Sergey Ignatov, told the Bulgarian National Television, BNT sanctions will be in place if the probe of the Ministry finds evidence of violations, but denied declarations of the opposition that this has been the biggest GERB scandal so far, accusing the media of overblowing somebody's "stupid intentions."

The Chair of the GERB Parliamentary group, Krasimir Velchev, announced Krasimira Simeonova will be fined as a first step in the pending sanctions.

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Tags: Education Minister Sergey Ignatov, student contest, political, propaganda, Member of the Parliament, GERB, Krasimira Simeonova, propaganda, school, contest, apology, Peshtera, Steliyan Varsanov

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