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Boyko Borisov

Boyko Metodiev Borisov (, ; born 13 June 1959) is a Bulgarian politician who has been Prime Minister of Bulgaria since July 2009. He was Mayor of Sofia from 8 November 2005 until his appointment as Prime Minister.

After his party, GERB, won the July 2009 parliamentary election, Borisov became Bulgaria's 50th Prime Minister[1][2] on 27 July 2009.

Contents


Biography

Early life

Borisov was born in 1959 in Bankya (then a village, today a town 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.[3] 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.[4] 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 not currently married, but lives with Tsvetelina Borislavova, head of the Economic and Investment 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' tat of 1944.[5]

Chief Secretary

Boyko Borisov was the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior between 2001 and 2005, with the rank of General.[6][7][8][9][10][11] 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%,[12] 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"),[13] 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.[14][15] Since 27 July 2009 Borisov has been serving as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in a minority GERB-dominated centre-right government.[1][2]

Domestic policy

Borisov's economic policies are mostly aimed at curbing corruption in the public administration[16] and building an adequate infrastructure. One of the main goals in this direction is the expansion of the national motorway network, of which Lyulin was the first motorway to be completed.[17] The government has also approved a strategy for the development of the energy sector until 2020, which includes the completion of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant and expanding renewable energy capacities, although later the government decided to stop Belene Nuclear Power Plant project.[18][19] The acquisition of European funds has also increased from 2.6%[20] to 20%.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

Borisov is also a strong supporter of the total smoking ban and is to implement the measure in 2012 with the aim to reduce the number of smokers from 40% of the population to about 15-20%.[24]

During its term, Borisov's government also nationalised all private pension funds, a step that was later rendered illegal by the Constitutional Court of Bulgaria.[25]

In a move that outraged the scientific community of the country, his cabinet reduced scientific funding by 38% and the educational budget by 21%.[26][27]

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.[28] 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.[29] This trend has continued throughout 2011, as Borisov and his party completely dominate the country's media reports.[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 economic woes and failure to carry out promised reforms.[33]

Borisov's hardline governing style has received criticism, described by some as authoritarian.[34][35][36][37] In early 2011 a number of think-tanks and analysts have raised concern about the degradation of media freedom and transparency in the country,[38] while in 2011 reports surfaced that Borisov has been paying cash to journalists for a positive portrayal and has been threatening others for criticism as early as 2005.[39] In 2011, Bulgaria was ranked as the worst-performing EU member in terms of media freedom, according to Freedom House, and ranked 77th internationally.[40]

Controversy

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 Roumen Nikolov (AKA "the Pasha")." [41]

Borisov, on 6 February 2009, speaking in Chicago, told Bulgarian expatriates that the human material and the basis of Bulgarian population at the moment include one 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.[42][43][44][45] 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."[46]

Borisov has denied these accusations and in turn, he has accused the Bulgarian Socialist Party of attempting to discredit him.[47] 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,[48] and has reached out to offer inclusivity to Bulgaria s ethnic Turkish population; although these measures and proposals have been seen as politically empty.[4]

Periodically ensuing corruption scandals and controversies led to reports showing critical levels of corruption. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International, Borisov's government is critically more corrupt than the previous two governments. This goes against Borisov's declared mission to fight corruption and organized crime and distribute justice to former corrupt politicians. Despite Borisov's initial promise, no representative of previous cabinets has so far been convicted.

Corruption Scandals and Connections with Organized Crime

In the early nineties, Boyko Borisov was accused by the magazine U.S. Congressional Quarterly (CQ)[49] of being directly linked to the biggest mobsters in Bulgaria. "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." CQ asserted.

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.[50] Later those tapes were declared "manipulated" (not being able to tell if they were fake or not) by two independent examinations.[51] [52] In early July, Borisov admitted that the conversation had been genuine, though tempered with, while giving an interview to Bulgarian bloggers. [53]

Bulgarian Footballer of the Year

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 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.[54][55]

References

External links

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