History of Bulgaria since 1989

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Republic of Bulgaria
Република България
Republika Bǎlgariya
  (Bulgarian)
Flag of Bulgaria
Coat of arms of Bulgaria
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: 
Anthem: 
Мила Родино  (Bulgarian)
Mila Rodino  (transliteration)
Dear Motherland
Location of  History of Bulgaria since 1989  (dark green)– in Europe  (green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]
Location of  History of Bulgaria since 1989  (dark green)

– in Europe  (green & dark grey)
– in the European Union  (green)  –  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Sofia
42°41′N 23°19′E / 42.683°N 23.317°E / 42.683; 23.317
Official languages Bulgarian
Official script Cyrillic
Ethnic groups (2011[1])
Demonym Bulgarian
Government Unitary parliamentary republic
Rumen Radev
Ognyan Gerdzhikov
Legislature National Assembly
Formation
680–1018
1185–1422
3 March 1878[note 1]
• Declaration of Independence from the Ottoman Empire
5 October 1908[note 2]
13 July 1991
• European Union accession
1 January 2007
Area
• Total
110,994 km2 (42,855 sq mi) (105th)
• Water (%)
0.3
Population
• 2014 census
7,202,198[2] (101st)
• Density
64.9/km2 (168.1/sq mi) (95th)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$141.375 billion[3] (66th)
• Per capita
$19,839 (67th)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$48.957 billion[3] (75th)
• Per capita
$6,927 (76th)
Gini (2015) Negative increase 37[4]
medium
HDI (2014) Increase 0.782[5]
high · 59th
Currency Lev (BGN)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST)
EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code +359
ISO 3166 code BG
Internet TLD .bg

The History of Bulgaria since 1989 is the period of Bulgarian history that begins after the fall of communism and the transition to democracy.

End of the Communist rule[edit]

In 1989 Todor Zhivkov was removed from power after 35 years at the helm of the Communist Party.

The reforms towards liberalization, both social, political and economic in the Eastern Bloc started with Mikhail Gorbachev's reform program in the Soviet Union which was felt in Bulgaria in the late 1980s. In fact, the release of tightening started with the end of the Stalinist era and continued slowly to the point that many previously forbidden literary texts were translated, the same was relevant for Hollywood movies, etc., stores appeared with Western products that had elements of advertisement (advertisement of products was generally unknown and not used in the Eastern Bloc since everything was accessible and the same to all), these new features of the late communist years acknowledged the gradual breaking of the Iron Curtain for the Comcon people. This, together with the policies of Gorbachev, led to more freedom and expectations for democracy among people.

In November 1989, demonstrations on ecological issues were staged in Sofia, and these soon broadened into a general campaign for political reform. That Communists generally did not break the demonstrations was a sign of a possible change that would come. In fact communist politicians reacted by eventually voting for the removal of Todor Zhivkov as a communist party and country head and replacing him with Petar Mladenov, but this gained them only a short respite in power. In February 1990 the Communist Party, forced by street protests gave up its claim on power and in June 1990 the first free elections since 1931 were held, won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (the new name of the Communist Party). In July 1991 a new Constitution was adopted, which regulates a representative elected President and a Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Transition[edit]

Zhelyu Zhelev was the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Bulgaria. He is considered the father of democracy or the head of the democratic changes.
Philip Dimitrov was one of the first democratic leaders in the early 90s, serving from 1991 to 1992.

Like the other post-socialist regimes in eastern Europe, Bulgaria found the transition to capitalism rather painful and not easy as expected. The anti-Communist Union of Democratic Forces (in Bulgarian: СДС, SDS) took office between 1991 and 1992 to carry through the privatization of agricultural land, properties and industry issuing shares in government enterprises to all citizens, but these were accompanied by massive unemployment as industries were no longer tightened to the broken Comecon and failed in competition of the global market without the participation of Bulgaria to new regional or world trade organizations, at the same time Bulgaria's industry showed to be backward which was amendable but in the hurry of political changes neither government, nor people were ready for industrial modernization. In fact the disbandment of former State security that was tightened to the Communist party (Bulgarian: ДС, DS) although brought relief to many Bulgarian people previously feared to speak or express other than communist views, at the same time boosted criminality never seen before in Bulgaria. The police were not ready to care about and chase the criminality which was before kept low with the fearful methods of DS. This led to mass stealing of capital, machinery, materials and even furniture from the industry and also institutions. Referring to industry this led to soon failing to work of many factories, etcetera

Zhan Videnov (1995-1997)[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see Videnov Government.

The Socialists (former Communists) presented their political visions as the defenders of the poor against the excesses of the free market. Reaction against economic reforms appeared because reforms left many unemployed (unemployment was almost not existing before in Bulgaria) and many towns literally was left to drop economically just in months, this allowed Zhan Videnov of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to win the 1994 parliamentary elections. Videnov was very young when he stepped in the PM post and his inability to show political strength and his incompetence was soon acknowledged by people surrounding him who took advantage of it for own purposes and personal enrichment. This incompetence and the misguided policies of the Socialist government in all exacerbated the economic conditions. The government was clearly unsupported by Western countries and thus Bulgarian foreign policy seriously suffered, and in 1996 the economy fell into hyperinflation and many banks went bankrupt. In the presidential elections of that year the SDS's Petar Stoyanov was elected. In 1997 the BSP government collapsed after a month of nationwide protests and government was appointed by the President Stoyanov which coped to calm the economic situation. Later the democratic party of SDS came to power.

Ivan Kostov (1997–2001)[edit]

Between 1997 and 2001, much of the success of the Ivan Kostov government was due to Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihaylova, who had huge approval and support in Bulgaria and abroad.
Ivan Kostov came to power in May 1997 after months of popular discontent and hyperinflation.
Petar Stoyanov was the second democratically elected president of Bulgaria. His reign is characterized by pro-Western orientation.[citation needed]
For more information on the cabinet, see Kostov Government.

The new Democratic government headed by Ivan Kostov enjoyed strong support and moved the Bulgarian economy ahead,[clarification needed] but allegations of corruption and inability to cope with some of the serious problems in the country caused frustration. The electorate became to some extent dissatisfied with both parties – BSP and SDS. At that point Stoyanov, who still held some good positions and had public approval, took part in presidential elections seeking a second mandate, but he scandalously failed with a blunder on TV and lost support, and the elections too. The newly elected president, former BSP leader Georgi Parvanov, was not very well known to the public although he was in politics since the early 1990s, and was well received for his wise political behavior.[according to whom?] Although a BSP candidate, he was rather perceived as an independent figure and he also always stated to be president to all Bulgarians without any political reference. At that point with the already dissatisfaction with both BSP and SDS, people were looking for new alternatives and new politicians.

The return of Simeon II (2001-2005)[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see Sakskoburggotski Government.
Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was the last king of Bulgaria, serving from 1943 to 1946. Half a century later, he served as prime minister from 2001 to 2005.

In 2001, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (Bulgarian: Симеон Сакскобурготски, Simeon Sakskoburgotski), son of Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria, who had fled from socialist Bulgaria as a nine-year-old boy in 1946, became Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Several years prior to that, in 1996, he had visited Bulgaria with his family of two princes and a princess and it was then when he announced he would soon come back to his homeland to form a new political party[citation needed]. Several years later, Sakskoburggotski formed the National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) and swept away both major parties in the elections of June 2001 with a landslide victory. As Prime Minister, he followed a strong and strictly pro-western course[according to whom?], as a result of which Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. Economic and political conditions visibly improved, although economic growth was not as high as expected and unemployment and emigration remained high. Problematic areas remained corruption, health care, organized crime (though scaled down[citation needed]), and higher education, which all need to be massively reformed.

The Triple Coalition (2005-2009)[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see Stanishev Government.
Georgi Parvanov is the third democratically elected president. While he personally does not hide his sympathies towards Russia and is regularly speaking for the need of development of Bulgarian and Russian energy projects, he also gave a serious support for the government of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in its effort of joining in NATO and also made possible the three-coalition of Sergei Stanishev which accomplished the joining of Bulgaria to EU.
Sergei Stanishev Prime Minister (2005-2009). His government is composed of BSP, NDSV and DPS.

At the next parliamentary elections NDSV didn't reach enough votes to form alone a government, in fact BSP gained the largest share of the votes, followed by NDSV. And because none of the parties had enough seats in Parliament to establish a government on its own after more than a month of negotiations initiated by President Parvanov for the forming of coalition government that was needed for the EU joining, a coalition was formed between BSP, NDSV and MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms). Although divided by deep ideological and political differences, the three parties were united by a major goal: accomplishing the reforms necessary for joining the European Union in 2007. But ineffective administration and high-level corruption remained serious problems that was limiting the entrance of foreign businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. Additionally, Sergei Stanishev's government was caught in his last months by the world financial crisis but denied its existence and refused to initiate steps for protecting Bulgarian economy from it[6] for which he received wide disapproval.

First cabinet of Boyko Borisov (2009-2013)[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see First Borisov Government.
Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (2009-2013/2014-2017).
Rosen Plevneliev,It is the fourth democratically elected president of Bulgaria.

In the parliamentary elections in 2009 the center-right party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) won, taking 117 seats in the 240-seats Parliament. The Socialists were a distant second, with 39 seats. NDSV coundn't take enough votes to enter Parliament.[7] The new government of Boyko Borisov stated some serious intentions for educational changes for liberation of the system and ability of students to easily choose universities and most important placed the accent on fiscal discipline. In particular, the Ministry of Finance reduced the budget deficit following a policy of administrative reform and privatization. Subsidies to state-owned enterprises in the transport and energy sectors were cut. Deputy Prime Minister Simeon Djankov led a reform team that included the Minister of Infrastructure Rosen Plevneliev, the Minister of Economy Traycho Traykov and the Minister of Environment Nona Karadjova.[8][9] The government fell on 20 February 2013 after multiple street protests, over strictly imposed austerity measures and sustained fiscal stability encouraged by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund during the recession, but also delayed government payments to private companies,[10] and also wiretapping scandals involving the Minister of the Interior Tsvetan Tsvetanov.

Plamen Oresharski (2013-2014)[edit]

Form more information on the cabinet, see Oresharski Government.

The government of Plamen Oresharski was not well accepted, leading to yearlong protests, ultimately resulting in the its downfall on July 23, 2014.

Second cabinet of Boyko Borisov (2014-2017)[edit]

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

Boyko Borisov returned to power after winning Bulgarian parliamentary election, 2014. Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria form a government with the Reformist Bloc, Patriotic Front (Bulgaria) and the Alternative for Bulgarian Revival. The government resigned after the Bulgarian presidential election, 2016 which were won by independent candidate General Rumen Radev supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 19 February in the Julian calendar used at the time.
  2. ^ 22 September in the Julian calendar used at the time.

References[edit]