Serbian Interior Minister Encourages Bulgarians to Count as Bulgarians During CensusDiplomacy | October 1, 2011, Saturday // 19:19| views
Ivica Dacic, Serbia's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. File photo
Ivica Dacic, Serbia's Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, has encouraged all members of the Bulgarian minority group in the country to freely declare themselves as Bulgarian during the upcoming census in the Balkan country.
"I really call for everyone to use that right, nobody should try to inhibit that in Serbia, because everyone has the right to say what they are," Dacic declared on Saturday, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.
Saturday marks the start of the census in four Balkan states: Serbia, Albania, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. For the first time in history, Kosovo is not included in the Serbian census.
Officially, there are about 20 000 ethnic Bulgarians in Serbia. However, representatives of the Bulgarian minority have described the figures as "unrealistic".
Earlier on Saturday, it was reported that the cenus in Macedonia started with a scandal triggered by the resignation of the Chair of the State Commission, Vesna Janevska, who alarmed the Census will be largely forged and highly politicized. Her Deputy, Abdumenaf Bedzheti, resigned earlier, while six other members – ethnic Albanians and Turks, also threaten to quit.
Janevska is quoted saying that requests to count ethnic Albanians and Macedonian emigrants, who have not been in the country for over a year, based on copies of their ID papers is a violation of the law, the standards and Eurostat's rules
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