An online petition to withdraw Vasil Garvanliev as Macedonia’s representative in the 2021 Eurovision song contest has reached nearly 6,000 signatures.

Garvanliev recently revealed that the has dual citizenship – Macedonian and Bulgarian, and his video for the Here I Stand song featured what appeared to be the Bulgarian flag – and was in fact a mistakenly displayed artwork.

Many Macedonians are fed up with how politicized the competition has become. In 2017, at the height of the political crisis, Macedonia was represented by the daughter of a powerful adviser in the US Embassy, and in 2019 singer Tamara Todevska was criticized for overusing the imposed name North Macedonia. Todevska later did a tattoo apology after she mangled the Macedonian anthem during a reception again in the US Embassy – leaving out verses that evoke Macedonian heroes claimed by Bulgaria.
That is why many believed that the inclusion of the Bulgarian flag in Garvanliev’s video was no coincidence. The little known singer and dancer was later revealed to have a Bulgarian citizenship, and was praised by Bulgarian politicians for adopting his Bulgarian identity.

Today Garvanliev posted a video statement saying he will not apologize for the dual citizenship, insisting it was claimed by his parents and that the procedure is legal.