A commission at Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) has decided that Vasil Garvanliev is going to represent Macedonia at the Eurosong contest despite the Bulgarian flag controversy.
Garvanliev’s video promoting his song featured a carefully-placed piece of art resembling the flag of Bulgaria. In an older interview that emerged, Garvanliev is seen rejoicing in having a second, Bulgarian, citizenship. This happens in a time of growing attacks on Macedonian identity from the Bulgarian government.
The subsequent backlash saw the collection of 20,000 signatures demanding he not be allowed to represent Macedonia.
The MRT press service issued the following statement:
“The Public service does not have the right to discredit anyone on the basis of religious, national or other grounds and enjoys total freedom in choosing [an Eurovision] representative regardless of his citizenship. The praxis shows that every Eurovision contest has a similar case.”
The statement comes following a petition calling for the MRT to revoke Garvanliev’s appearance at Eurovision. On the other hand, Garvanliev received international support. Bulgaria has taken interest in being present in the situation.
Two days ago, the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a person from the Macedonian embassy in Sofia to extend “concerns” about the negative campaign against Vasil Garvanliev based on his double citizenship – Macedonian and Bulgarian.
Developments around the Eurosong representative are generally seen as a part of an international campaign by Bulgaria intending to reformulate the ethnic and national identity of the Macedonian people.