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Boyko Borisov

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Boyko Borisov

Boyko Borisov
Бойко Борисов
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
27 July 2009 – 13 March 2013
President Georgi Parvanov
Rosen Plevneliev
Deputy Simeon Djankov
Tsvetan Tsvetanov
Preceded by Sergei Stanishev
Succeeded by Marin Raykov
Mayor of Sofia
In office
10 November 2005 – 27 July 2009
Preceded by Stefan Sofiyanski
Succeeded by Yordanka Fandakova
Member of the Bulgarian National assembly
for Sofia
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 July 2005
Personal details
Born Boyko Metodiev Borisov
(1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 55)
Bankya, Bulgaria
Political party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (2006–present)
National Movement Simeon II (2001–2006)
Bulgarian Communist Party (until 1990)
Spouse(s) Stela Borisova (Divorced)
Domestic partner Tsvetelina Borislavova (Separated)
Children Veneta
Religion Bulgarian Orthodoxy
Boyko Borisov
Personal information
Full nameBoyko Metodiev Borisov
Date of birth (1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 55)
Place of birthBankya, Bulgaria
Playing positionForward
Club information
Current clubVitosha Bistritsa
Number13
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
2007–2012Vitosha Bistritsa19(27)
2013–Vitosha Bistritsa2(0)
Template:Infobox medal templates
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Boyko Metodiev Borisov (Bulgarian: Бойко Методиев Борисов, IPA: [ˈbɔjko mɛˈtɔdiɛf boˈrisof]; born 13 June 1959) is a Bulgarian politician who was Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Mayor of Sofia. Borisov currently plays as a forward for Vitosha Bistritsa in the B PFG, the second division of Bulgarian football. At 54 years, two months and 12 days, Borisov holds the record for the oldest player ever to appear for a Bulgarian professional club.[1]

Early life

Borisov was born in 1959 in Bankya (then a village, today a town that is part of greater Sofia) to Ministry of Internal Affairs official Metodi Borisov and elementary school teacher Veneta Borisova. Between 1982 and 1990, he assumed different positions in the Ministry of Internal Affairs as a firefighter and later as a professor at the Police Academy in Sofia.[2] As a National Security Office member, Borisov took part in the protection of crops and haylofts during the name-changing campaign towards ethnic Turks in the 1980s.[3] He quit the Ministry in 1990. In 1991 he founded a private security company, Ipon-1, and later guarded personalities like Todor Zhivkov and Simeon II. Borisov has been actively participating in karate championships since 1978, serving as the coach of the Bulgarian national team and a referee of international matches. He currently has a 7th dan black belt in karate and is the chairman of the Bulgarian Karate Federation. Borisov has also been a coach for the Bulgarian national karate team for many years.

Borisov is divorced, but for a number of years lived with Tsvetelina Borislavova, head of Bulgarian American Credit Bank. Borisov has a daughter, Veneta, from his former marriage to the physician Stela. Borisov also has a sister, Krasimira Ivanova. Borisov's great-grandfather was executed in the wake of the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944.[4]

Civil service

Boyko Borisov was the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior between 2001 and 2005, with the rank of General.[5][6][7][8][9][10] In the 2005 parliamentary elections he was candidate for member of Parliament for the National Movement Simeon II, and was elected in two regions but decided to retain his job as Chief Secretary of the Ministry. Later that year he resigned from this post, and instead participated in and won the elections for mayor of Sofia, where he replaced Stefan Sofiyanski.

Founding of GERB

Borisov founded a new political party, GERB in 2006 (in English Coat of Arms, while also being an acronym for "Grazhdani za evropeisko razvitie na Bulgariya" or "Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria"). GERB won the first Bulgarian European Parliament elections on 20 May 2007, despite a very low poll attendance and turnout of 28.6%,[11] which prompted Borisov to voice his wish for early parliamentary elections. Following a party congress in January 2010, Borisov became the official leader of GERB (of which he had been only an "informal leader"),[12] thus replacing Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who had served under Borisov at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and later as a vice-mayor of Sofia.

Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Borisov's party GERB also won the parliamentary election on 5 July 2009 by collecting 39.71% of the popular vote and 116 of the 240 seats in parliament.[13][14] Since 27 July 2009 Borisov served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in a GERB-dominated centre-right minority government[15][16] with parliamentary support from three other parliamentary groups, including the nationalist party "Ataka". He invited several non-party affiliated experts to the government, most prominent among them Simeon Djankov, a former high-ranking World Bank official, and Rosen Plevneliev, manager of a large German subsidiary in Bulgaria.

Domestic policy

Borisov's policies were mostly aimed at curbing corruption in the public administration[17] and building an adequate infrastructure. One of the main goals in this direction was the expansion of the national motorway network, of which Lyulin was the first motorway to be completed.[18] The government has also approved a strategy for the development of the energy sector until 2020, which includes the completion of gad interconnectors with Greece, Romania, and Turkey and expanding renewable energy capacities. The Borisov government stopped the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project.[19][20] The acquisition of European funds has also increased from 2.6%[21] to 20%.[22]

Specialised police actions have tackled corruption in the administration and a number of high-profile members of the organised crime have been imprisoned, though there has been little improvement in the rule of law.[23] In the same time the government has received criticism from other EU members due to the erosion of media freedom, falling attractiveness for investors and continuing mafia activities.[24] These criticisms have been leveled repeatedly against Deputy Prime Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov, who is formally under investigation for wiretapping members of the government and parliament.

Borisov is a strong supporter of the total smoking ban. Although initially removing the ban introduced by the previous government, the Borisov Cabinet re-introduced it in 2012[25] with the aim to reduce the number of smokers from 40% of the population to about 15–20%.[26]

During its term, Borisov's government also achieved the second-lowest debt burden in the European Union, and the third-lowest budget deficit in the European Union. Parliament also adopted changes in the organic budget law that mandate budget deficits below 2% of GDP in any one year. These changes were fashioned after a similar legal change in Germany and have the effect of curbing wasteful government spending. The strong fiscal policy is the main achievement of the GERB government. For it Boyko Borisov has received accolades from Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Jose Barroso and Barack Obama.

Image

Boyko Borisov's "man of the people" attitude and the failings of the previous government have been seen as the main sources of his popularity.[27] Borisov has also marked a very wide media presence, being regularly cited in most major media outlets and has made a total of 1,157 statements from his election to the end of 2010.[28] This trend continues, as Borisov and his party completely dominate the country's media reports,[29] his name being mentioned in more than 8,000 news articles for 2012.[30] He has also been the subject of a number of sycophantic plaudits on the part of his supporters, including a poem lauding his "dignified leadership".[31] In July 2012, he was included as a "historical personality" in history books for high school students, along with former GERB minister Rosen Plevneliev and European commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.[32] Borisov's popularity has been steadily declining due to ongoing scandals surrounding his most-trusted ministers - Tzvetan Tzvetanov and agriculture minister Miroslav Naydenov. After a public row due to leaked wiretapped conversations between Boyko Borisov, Miroslav Naydenov and the deputy prosecutor general, Boyko Borisov distanced himself from the former agriculture minister and he was excluded from GERB.

In December 2011, Borisov, who occasionally plays as a striker for third division side F.C. Vitosha Bistritsa, collected 44% of about 8,000 votes in a fans' poll to crown Bulgaria's Footballer of the Year, ahead of then-Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov. Following the result, Borisov called for the award to be annulled, claiming it was a protest vote against the poor conditions of Bulgarian football.[33][34]

Borisov's hardline governing style has received criticism by some media outlets, described by some as authoritarian.[35][36][37][38]

Resignation

Following the eruption of nationwide protests on 12 February 2013 over high energy costs, low living standards and corruption, Borisov and his government resigned on 20 February. Prior to that PM Borisov had accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Simeon Djankov – following a row over farm subsidies – and promised a cut in power prices and punishing foreign-owned companies – a potential risk in damaging Bulgaria-Czech Republic relations – but protests continued. He then said: "I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people." The Bulgarian parliamentary election, 2013 due in summer were brought forward to 12 May 2013. The resignation of Djankov is a blow to the future political ambitions of Boyko Borisov, since he spearheaded the reforms during their term in office. He is also regarded as able manager of the public administration. Simeon Djankov has since moved to an academic career at the Harvard Kennedy School.

The European People's Party has expressed support for Borisov a month before the 2013 parliamentary elections.[39]

Later in April, Borisov's former Agriculture minister Miroslav Naydenov revealed that the government has spied on several cabinet ministers, business figures and the opposition under orders of Tsvetan Tsvetanov, deputy chairman of GERB. Several members of parliament have corroborated these claims, as well as members of the wiretapping unit in the Interior Ministry.[40]

Controversies

Allegations of corruption and connections with organized crime

Periodically ensuing corruption scandals and controversies has led to reports of high levels of corruption in Borisov's government. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International, Borisov's government was as corrupt as previous governments, with two of his closest ministers – Tsvetan Tsvetanov and Miroslav Naydenov investigated by the Prosecutor General and the Tax Authority for taking bribes while in office. This goes against Borisov's declared mission to fight corruption and organized crime while pressing criminal charges against former corrupt politicians. Despite Borisov's initial promise, no representative of previous cabinets has so far been convicted.

In 2007 Boyko Borisov was accused by the magazine U.S. Congressional Quarterly (CQ) of being directly linked to the biggest mobsters in Bulgaria. CQ asserted that, "the most powerful politician in Bulgaria, Washington's newest ally in the global war on terror, is a close associate of known mobsters and linked to almost 30 unsolved murders in the Black Sea republic."[41] According to a confidential report compiled by former top U.S. law enforcement agency officials Borisov had used his position as the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry to help organized crime bosses attack their opponents.[42]

On 14 January 2011, journalists from the Bulgarian weekly newspaper Galeria distributed audio records of an alleged conversation between Borisov and Customs Agency Head Vanyo Tanov. The tapes reveal that Borisov instructed customs authorities to immediately stop their investigation of "Ledenika" brewery which had been suspected of illegal activities and tax crimes. Finance Minister Simeon Djankov was also caught on tape ordering the Head of Customs to do his work properly and not yield to Borisov's demands. This created a rift within the government, as it was widely-believed that the wiretapping was ordered by Interior Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov.[43] Later those tapes were declared "manipulated" (not being able to tell if they were fake or not) by two independent examinations.[44][45] In early July, Borisov admitted that the conversation had been genuine, though tempered with, while giving an interview to Bulgarian bloggers.[46][47] A March 2013 investigation by the Prosecutor General suggests that the wire-tapping was ordered by Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Borisov's trusted deputy in the GERB party, with the aim of getting rid of Customs Head Vanyo Tanov.

Allegations of money laundering

In 2011, according to allegedly leaked U.S. diplomatic documents, "Borisov is alleged to have used his former position as head of Bulgarian law enforcement to arrange cover for criminal deals, and his common-law wife, Tsvetelina Borislavova, manages a large Bulgarian bank that has been accused of laundering money for organized criminal groups, as well as for Borisov's own illegal transactions. Borisov is said to have close social and business ties to influential Mafia figures, including Mladen Mihalev (AKA "Madzho"), and is a former business partner of OC figure Rumen Nikolov (AKA "the Pasha")."[48]

Allegations of threatening journalists


In early 2011 a number of think-tanks and analysts raised concern about the degradation of media freedom and transparency in Bulgaria.[49] In 2011 reports surfaced that Borisov had paid cash to journalists so that they would portray him favourably, and threatened journalists who criticized him as long ago as 2005.[50] In 2012, Bulgaria was ranked as the worst-performing EU member in terms of media freedom, according to Freedom House, and ranked 80th internationally.[51]

Allegations of racism and xenophobia

On 6 February 2009, Borisov, speaking in Chicago, told Bulgarian expatriates that the human material and the basis of Bulgarian population at that moment included 1 million Roma, 700,000 Turks and 2.5 million retirees. He added that the human material that they are left with as voters and as a pool for recruiting staff is really not that big, as half a million people have left Bulgaria.[52][53][54][55] Vice-president of the Party of European Socialists, Jan Marinus Wiersma, accused Borisov of referring to the Turks, Roma and pensioners in Bulgaria as "bad human material," and claimed that GERB "has already crossed the invisible line between right wing populism and extremism."[56]

Borisov denied these accusations and in turn accused the Bulgarian Socialist Party of attempting to discredit him.[57] Borisov stated in a meeting with NGOs on 5 March 2009 that he intends to include representatives of the Roma ethnicity in all levels of government, including a potential minister,[58] and has reached out to offer inclusivity to Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish population; although these measures and proposals have been seen as politically empty.[3]

References

External links

  • CityMayors profile
Political offices
Preceded by
Stefan Sofiyanski
Mayor of Sofia
2005–2009
Succeeded by
Yordanka Fandakova
Preceded by
Sergei Stanishev
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Marin Raykov
Acting
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