Bulgarian MP Veselin Mareshki has called for gay politicians to reveal their sexuality publicly—and to disclose whether they have drug or alcohol addictions, according to Balkan Insight.
Mareshki - who has compared himself to US President Donald Trump - said during an interview for NOVA TV that closeted politicians could cause a “conflict of interest”.
“I do not understand why homosexuals in power hide,” he said.
“Maybe they consider this something shameful,” the MP said, noting that “as free people they march on the squares” and “want to be seen”.
Mareshki said that gay politicians who did not announce their sexuality would be vulnerable to blackmailing campaigns and that they would be “dependent on people who have secret recordings of their activities”.
The MP added that this could even lead to a war between Bulgaria and Russia.
Mareshki is a businessman who owns a chain of petrol stations and pharmacies and leads the populist party, Volya.
The party has 12 MPs in parliament but is not part of the governing coalition.
One of the organisers of Sofia Pride—Radoslav Stoyanov—says that Mareshki’s comments are harmful to the LGBT+ community.
“His statement carries the message that gay people have to be deprived of political representation and should not be in power,” he said.
“We will not see any [political] reaction because maybe they [political parties] consider this as something normal,” Stoyanov added.
Meanwhile, an online petition has called for Mareshki to disclose his ‘heterosexual relationships’ in the name of transparency and has so far received over 200 signatures.