Nationalism the big winner in Bulgarian election

Source: Reuters

By Angel Krasimirov | ELIN PELIN, BULGARIA

Syrian refugee Fatema Batayhi says she has not left her home for five weeks, not since a hostile crowd confronted her on the main square of this sleepy town in a valley east of Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia.

Batayhi, her husband and their youngest son fled the barrel bombs and street fighting of Syria’s Aleppo four years ago, eventually joining their eldest son in setting up home eight months ago in the first European Union country they could reach – Bulgaria, via Turkey.

However, they had not reckoned with the town’s mayor, who refused to issue them with residence papers, or on a growing mood of nationalist intolerance that has dragged Bulgarian politics toward the hard right and may help determine the make-up of the next government after an election on Sunday.

The crowd in Elin Pelin, a town of some 7,000 people named after an early 20th century Bulgarian writer, hurled insults and objects at Batayhi, a Muslim.

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