Boyko Borissov

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Boyko Borissov
Бойко Борисов
Boyko Borisov EPP 2014.jpg
50th Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Assumed office
7 November 2014
President Rosen Plevneliev
Deputy Rumyana Bachvarova
Tomislav Donchev
Meglena Kuneva
Ivaylo Kalfin
Preceded by Georgi Bliznashki (Acting)
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 (Acting)
Mayor of Sofia
In office
10 November 2005 – 27 July 2009
Preceded by Stefan Sofiyanski
Succeeded by Yordanka Fandakova
Personal details
Born Boyko Metodiev Borissov
(1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 56)
Bankya, Bulgaria
Political party Communist Party (Before 1990)
National Movement Simeon II (2001–2006)
GERB (2006–present)
Spouse(s) Stela Borissova (Divorced)
Domestic partner Tsvetelina Borislavova (Separated)
Children Veneta
Religion Bulgarian Orthodoxy
Website Official Website
Boyko Borissov
Personal information
Full name Boyko Metodiev Borissov
Date of birth (1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 56)
Place of birth Bankya, Bulgaria
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Vitosha Bistritsa
Number 13
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2012 Vitosha Bistritsa 21 (27)
2013–present Vitosha Bistritsa 2 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Boyko Metodiev Borissov (Bulgarian: Бойко Методиев Борисов, IPA: [ˈbɔjko mɛˈtɔdiɛf boˈrisof]; born 13 June 1959) is a Bulgarian politician who has been Prime Minister of Bulgaria since 2014. Previously he served as Prime Minister from 2009 to 2013 and as Mayor of Sofia from 2005 to 2009.

Borissov plays as a forward for Vitosha Bistritsa. In 2013, he became the oldest player ever to play for a Bulgarian professional club when he appeared for Vitosha in the B PFG, the second division of Bulgarian football.[1]

Boyko Borissov when he served as a bodyguard of dictator Todor Zhivkov
Borissov claims to have given up his cigar smoking habit[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Borissov 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 Borissov and elementary school teacher Veneta Borissova. In 1977, Borissov graduated from Bankya's high school with excellent marks.[4] 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.[5] As a National Security Office member, Borissov took part in the protection of crops and haylofts during the name-changing campaign towards ethnic Turks in the 1980s.[6] From 1985 to 1990, Borissov was a lecturer at the Higher Institute for Police Officers Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior. He received a PhD for his dissertation thesis "Psycho-Physical Training of the Operational Staff".[7]

Borissov quit the Ministry in 1990. In 1991 he founded a private security company, Ipon-1, and later guarded statesmen such as Todor Zhivkov and Simeon II. Borissov 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. Borissov has also been a coach for the Bulgarian national karate team for many years.

Borissov is divorced, but for a number of years lived with Tsvetelina Borislavova, head of Bulgarian American Credit Bank. Borissov has a daughter, Veneta, from his former marriage to the physician Stela. Borissov also has a sister, Krasimira Ivanova. Borissov's great-grandfather was executed in the wake of the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944.[8]

Civil service[edit]

Boyko Borissov was the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior between 2001 and 2005, with the rank of General.[9][10][11][12][13][14] During that period he is famous for getting the notorious mobster Sreten Jocić apprehended.[15][16] 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.[17]

Founding of GERB[edit]

Borissov founded a new political party, GERB in December 2006 (in English Coat of Arms, derived from "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%,[18] which prompted Borissov to voice his wish for early parliamentary elections. Following a party congress in January 2010, Borissov became the official leader of GERB (of which he had been only an "informal leader"),[19] thus replacing Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who had served under Borissov at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and later as a vice-mayor of Sofia.

First Term as Prime Minister of Bulgaria[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see First Borisov Government.

Borissov'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.[20][21] Since 27 July 2009 Borissov served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in a GERB-dominated centre-right minority government[22][23] 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[edit]

Borissov's policies were mostly aimed at curbing corruption in the public administration[24] 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.[25] 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 Borissov government stopped the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project.[26][27] The acquisition of European funds has also increased from 2.6%[28] to 20%.[29]

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.

Borissov is a strong supporter of the total smoking ban. Although initially removing the ban introduced by the previous government, the Borissov Cabinet re-introduced it in 2012[32] with the aim to reduce the number of smokers from 40% of the population to about 15–20%.[33]

During its term, Borissov'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 Borissov has received accolades from Angela Merkel, David Cameron, José Manuel Barroso and Barack Obama.

The Borissov government also initiated administrative reform by cutting the number of ministries and agencies. Two ministries were subsumed by others already in November 2009. Next was the streamlining of government agencies. In 2010, a full list was compiled – 122 in all. After a month’s work, 30 were slated for closure. Here the reform team incurred the wrath of labor unions and ex-government officials, who at the same time argued that streamlining was necessary but these were the wrong “victims.” We moved ahead and within one year of the start of reforms the government payroll was reduced by 13,000 (out of 110,000 initially). Still, the number of government entities and bureaucrats remained higher than a decade earlier, which was the desired goal. The next step was to create a common salary and promotion structure for the whole administration, starting in 2011. Prior to that, a patchwork of nearly 90 separate laws regulated the pay of public officials in different parts of the government. As a result, some administrations were paid three times more than others, for comparable tasks and responsibilities. Some administrations had double the paid annual leave than others. Some has a bonus system in place, others relied solely on fixed salaries. Putting all this in one law required significant work in Parliament - over 200 pieces of legislation had to be amended.


Boyko Borissov's "man of the people" attitude and the failings of the previous government have been seen as the main sources of his popularity.[34] Borissov 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.[35] This trend continues, as Borissov and his party completely dominate the country's media reports,[36] his name being mentioned in more than 8,000 news articles for 2012.[37] 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".[38] 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.[39] Borissov'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 Borissov, Miroslav Naydenov and the deputy prosecutor general, Boyko Borissov distanced himself from the former agriculture minister and he was excluded from GERB.

In December 2011, Borissov, 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, Borissov called for the award to be annulled, claiming it was a protest vote against the poor conditions of Bulgarian football.[40][41]

Borissov's hardline governing style has received criticism by some media outlets, described by some as authoritarian.[42][43][44][45]


Following the eruption of nationwide protests on 12 February 2013 over high energy costs, low living standards and corruption, Borissov and his government resigned on 20 February. Prior to that PM Borissov 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 Borissov, 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 Borissov a month before the 2013 parliamentary elections.[46]

Later in April, Borissov'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.[47]

Second Term as Prime Minister of Bulgaria[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see Second Borisov Government.


Allegations of corruption and connections with organized crime[edit]

Periodically ensuing corruption scandals and controversies has led to reports of high levels of corruption in Borissov's government. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index, compiled by Transparency International, Borissov'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 Borissov's declared mission to fight corruption and organized crime while pressing criminal charges against former corrupt politicians.[citation needed] Despite Borissov's initial promise, no representative of previous cabinets has so far been convicted.

In 2007 Boyko Borissov 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."[48] According to a confidential report compiled by former top U.S. law enforcement agency officials Borissov had used his position as the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry to help organized crime bosses attack their opponents.[49]

On 14 January 2011, journalists from the Bulgarian weekly newspaper Galeria distributed audio records of an alleged conversation between Borissov and Customs Agency Head Vanyo Tanov. The tapes reveal that Borissov 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 Borissov's demands. This created a rift within the government, as it was widely believed that the wiretapping was ordered by Interior Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov.[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, Borissov admitted that the conversation had been genuine, though tampered with, while giving an interview to Bulgarian bloggers.[53][54] A March 2013 investigation by the Prosecutor General suggests that the wire-tapping was ordered by Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Borissov's trusted deputy in the GERB party, with the aim of getting rid of Customs Head Vanyo Tanov.[citation needed]

Allegations of money laundering[edit]

In 2011, according to allegedly leaked U.S. diplomatic documents, "Borissov 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 Borissov's own illegal transactions."[55] The U.S. Embassy in Sofia has, however, denied having such documents.

Allegations of threatening journalists[edit]

Michel Barnier and Boyko Borissov at the 2011 EPP summit at Bouchout Castle, Meise.

In early 2011 a number of think-tanks and analysts raised concern about the degradation of media freedom and transparency in Bulgaria.[56] In 2011 reports surfaced that Borissov had paid cash to journalists so that they would portray him favourably, and threatened journalists who criticized him as long ago as 2005.[57] In 2012, Bulgaria was ranked as the worst-performing EU member in terms of media freedom, according to Freedom House, and ranked 80th internationally.[58]

Allegations of racism and xenophobia[edit]

On 6 February 2009, Borissov, 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.[59][60][61][62] Vice-president of the Party of European Socialists, Jan Marinus Wiersma, accused Borissov 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."[63]

Borissov denied these accusations and in turn accused the Bulgarian Socialist Party of attempting to discredit him.[64] Borissov 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,[65] and has reached out to offer inclusivity to Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish population; although these measures and proposals have been seen as politically empty.[6]


  1. ^ "Former Prime Minister becomes Bulgaria's oldest player". Reuters. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 8.
  5. ^ "Бойко Борисов" (in Bulgarian). Darik News. 27 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  6. ^ a b "Boiko Borissov: A general history". Sofia Echo. 10 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  7. ^ "WHO IS WHO: Bulgaria's New Prime Minister Boyko Borisov". Sofia News Agency. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  8. ^ "Фамилия – Дядото на Бойко бил прочут кмет – Стандарт". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  9. ^ Редакционни | Обясненията за показните убийства | Пасове между съотборници –
  10. ^ България | Акциите на МВР – приказка без край –
  11. ^ Общини | Джеф Стайн не приема поканата на Бойко Борисов –
  12. ^ Общини | Бойко Борисов забравил спомените си за "Топлофикация" | Спорът му с Овчаров и Петков се ожесточи –
  13. ^ Интервю | Бойко Борисов: Като искате от мен отговорност, дайте ми права | Кандидат за нов кметски мандат в София –
  14. ^ Акцент | Много координатори – хилаво почистване –
  15. ^ [1] (Dead Link)
  16. ^ "Свидетел: Сретен Йосич и Туцо говориха за убийството на Бойко Борисов". Дарик Нет АД. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Lilov 2013, p. 15.
  18. ^ ЦИКЕП :: Избирателна активност (Dead Link)
  19. ^ Учредяване на партия ГЕРБ – БНТ (Dead Link)
  20. ^ "Резултати за страната при обработени 100.00% протоколи на СИК в РИК" (in Bulgarian). ЦИК. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  21. ^ "Bulgaria opposition wins election". BBC. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  22. ^ "Борисов ще е премиер, остана без часовник заради бас" (in Bulgarian). 5 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  23. ^ "Борисов обеща бърз кабинет и съкращения на висши чиновници" (in Bulgarian). Дневник. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  24. ^ Europe's Poorest Country Heads for the Polls, Spiegel, 7 March 2009
  25. ^ Lyulin motorway is complete, to be tested by PM, The Sofia Echo, 19 January 2011
  26. ^ Bulgarian Parliament approves 2020 energy strategy, 1 June 2011, The Sofia Echo
  27. ^ [2], 28 March 2012, The Bulgarian National TV
  28. ^ България последна в ЕС по усвояване на еврофондове, Trud, 15 January 2010
  29. ^ Медийно досие: Как върви усвояването на еврофондове за регионално развитие, Dnevnik, 14 June 2010
  30. ^ A welcome onslaught on corruption raises some fears of a police state, The Economist, 27 May 2011
  31. ^ A lighter shade of grey, The Economist, 17 March 2012
  32. ^ "Bulgaria's Good News in 2012". Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  33. ^ Smoking in Bulgaria? Cut!, The Sofia Echo, 18 March 2011
  34. ^ Anti-corruption prime minister surfs wave of popularity, The Telegraph, 18 September 2009
  35. ^ Властта иска да опитоми медиите, Trud, 30 April 2011
  36. ^ Bulgaria's Ruling GERB Dominates Media in Elections Eve, Novinite, 18 October 2011
  37. ^ Bulgarian Media Mentioned PM over 8000 Times in 2012, Novinite, 17 January 2013
  38. ^ A new prime minister enchants Bulgarians with his forceful ways, The Economist, 7 January 2010
  39. ^ "Bulgarian PM Enters High School History Books". Novinite. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  40. ^ Bulgarian PM wins player of year but wants award annulled BBC Sport 5 December 2011.
  41. ^ Bulgarian prime minister beats Dimitar Berbatov in country's best footballer poll The Daily Telegraph 5 December 2011. Retrieved on 2011-12-6.
  42. ^ Bulgaria Left-Wing Socialists: PM Espouses 'Caveman's Anticommunism', 29 November 2009,
  43. ^ Живко Георгиев: Наблюдаваме авторитарен режим на управление.,, 19 November 2009
  45. ^ Иво Христов: Има прекрасни условия за създаването на авторитарен режим,, 6 November 2009
  46. ^ "We support CEDB, Boyko Borissov and Bulgaria: EPP Secretary-General". Focus News Agency. 6 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  47. ^ "Ex AgriMin Exposes Shocking Mass Spying in Bulgaria". Novinite. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  48. ^ " – US Report: Borisov is a Mobster". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  49. ^ M3 Web – (8 March 2007). "Bulgaria: Bush's Bulgarian Partner in the Terror War Has Mob History, Investigators Say – – Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  50. ^ M3 Web – (14 January 2011). "Transcript from 2nd Taped Call between Bulgarian PM, Customs Head: Transcript from 2nd Taped Call between Bulgarian PM, Customs Head – – Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  51. ^ "Експертиза: Записите с Ваньо Танов не са оригинали – Днес". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  52. ^ "Втората експертиза потвърди, че разговорите на Танов са манипулирани – bTV Новините". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  53. ^ (13 July 2012). "Romania, Bulgaria set to fail their biggest test". EurActiv. Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  54. ^ Joi Ito, Japan (11 July 2012). "Bulgaria: PM Boyko Invites Creators of "Boykometer" for a Chat · Global Voices". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
  55. ^ "BULGARIA'S MOST POPULAR POLITICIAN: GREAT HOPES, MURKY TIES". WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  56. ^ Press play, The Sofia Echo, 29 April 2011
  57. ^ Wikileaks: US Ambassador Beyrle: Boyko Borisov – We Must Never Forget Who We Are Dealing With,, 26 May 2011. Journalists tell us privately that Borissov pays cash for positive coverage and threatens those who report negatively on him.
  58. ^ Bulgaria Worst in EU Media Freedom,, 3 May 2011
  59. ^ Изказване на Бойко Борисов в Чикаго – емигрантска версия Chicago press conference transcription in Bulgarian
  60. ^ Chicago audio record (Dead Link)
  61. ^ Mayor of Sofia brands Roma, Turks and retirees 'bad human material',, 6 February 2009
  62. ^ Sofia Mayor to Bulgarian Expats: We Are Left with Bad Human Material Back Home Sofia Mayor to Bulgarian Expats: We Are Left with Bad Human Material Back Home
  63. ^ "Challenge to EPP over leader's statement on bad human material". 6 February 2009. 
  64. ^ "Бойко Борисов: Никога не съм казвал, че пенсионерите са лош човешки материал" (in Bulgarian). Български фактор. 7 June 2009. 
  65. ^ M3 Web – (5 March 2009). "GERB Leader Announces Possible Roma Minister Appointment in Future Cabinet: Sofia Mayor Party Mulls Roma Minister in Future Cabinet – – Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 2012-09-29. 
Lilov, Grigor (2013). Най-богатите българи (1st ed.). Sofia: „Кайлас” ЕООД. ISBN 978-954-92098-9-1. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Stefan Sofiyanski
Mayor of Sofia
Succeeded by
Yordanka Fandakova
Preceded by
Sergei Stanishev
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Marin Raykov
Preceded by
Georgi Bliznashki
Prime Minister of Bulgaria