Peter Bossman

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Peter Bossman
Peter Bossman.jpg
Mayor of Piran
Incumbent
Assumed office
12 November 2010
Preceded by Tomaž Gantar
Personal details
Born (1955-11-02) 2 November 1955 (age 58)
Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana)
Nationality Ghanaian and Slovenian
Political party Social Democrats
Spouse(s) Karmen
Profession Doctor and politician

Peter Bossman (born 2 November 1955) is a Ghanaian-born Slovenian doctor and politician. He is currently serving as mayor of Piran, a city and municipality in Slovenian Istria in south-western Slovenia. A member of the centre-left Social Democrats, he defeated the incumbent mayor Tomaž Gantar in the October 2010 mayoral election to become Slovenia's first black mayor. In 2011 he was also appointed to the Committee of the Regions of the European Union.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Bossman was born in Accra, the capital of Ghana (then known as the Gold Coast), on 2 November 1955.[2][3] Bossman came from a relatively well-off family.[4] His father was a politician, as well as a friend and personal physician of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's leader from independence.[5] Bossman spent much of his early life in North Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, where his father helped found Ghanaian embassies.[5]

Following a 1966 coup that saw members of the National Liberation Council overthrow Nkrumah's elected government, Bossman was forced to leave Ghana. He was unable to come to Britain, where he had originally hoped to study, and so chose to come to Yugoslavia, originally hoping to study in Belgrade.[5] He was ultimately sent to Ljubljana, however, arriving as a medical student in what was then the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, within Yugoslavia, in 1977. He has said that he "fell in love" with Slovenia when he arrived, finding it "clean and green".[6] While he was studying, he remained politically active, heading an African students' organisation.[4]

His original intention to return to Ghana upon completing his studies was disrupted when he fell in love with a Croatian woman, Karmen Laković, a fellow student.[4][7] After completing his studies, he and Karmen, also a doctor,[8] settled in Piran, where they run a private practice.[9] They are now married and have two daughters.[4]

Politics[edit]

Piran City Hall

Bossman, previously a member of the Piran City Council,[9] successfully ran for mayor in 2010, narrowly defeating his opponent, the incumbent independent[10][dead link] centre-right[11] mayor Tomaž Gantar. In the run-off election on 24 October, he achieved 51.4% of the vote, defeating Gantar, who got 48.4%. Unofficial figures following the counting of all ballots showed Bossman with 3418 votes, 185 more votes than the 3233 cast for Gantar. The relatively low turnout, 44% of all voters, was deplored by both candidates.[12]

Bossman's campaign focused on encouraging people to drive electric cars, building a golf course to promote tourism, and promoting local products.[13] He has also pledged to work to try to improve Croatia–Slovenia relations, which have been recently strained over a number of minor border disputes.[14] Bossman has stated that race was not much of an issue during the election, although he did receive criticism on account of his supposed lack of fluency in Slovene.[13] He has stated that a friend, a professor of Slovene, has offered to give him additional lessons.[15]

Bossman officially took office at the first (constitutional) meeting of the municipal council on 12 November 2010.[16] His inauguration as mayor attracted more members of the media, including international media, than there were council members present.[17]

Reaction to election[edit]

Bossman's election as mayor has attracted international attention.[7] In addition to becoming Slovenia's first black mayor, he has also been described as being probably the first black person to become a mayor in the former Yugoslavia[7] as well as in the former Eastern Bloc(although Slovenia as a part of Yugoslavia was only part of the Eastern Bloc briefly until creation of NAM).[5][15] He has also been widely compared to U.S. President Barack Obama,[9] being dubbed by the media as the 'Obama of Piran'.[8][15] Bossman has, however, insisted he has no political ambitions beyond the mayoralty, having stated that he intends to return to medicine upon leaving office.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Data sheet at the CoR
  2. ^ "Župan Občine Piran Peter Bossman". The Municipality of Piran. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  3. ^ (Slovene) "Dr. Peter Bossman: Kandidiral bom za župana. Boril se bom kot lev!". Podpalmo. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.  (English translation)
  4. ^ a b c d e "Slovenia black mayor: I'm not Obama". News24. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d Vesna Peric Zimonjic (26 October 2010). "Call me Bossman: Eastern Europe gets its first black mayor". The Independent. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "First Black Mayor Elected in Eastern Europe". AOL News. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c "Slovenia elects Peter Bossman as first black mayor". BBC. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "Physician Voted Slovenia's First Black Mayor". Radio Free Europe. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c Snjezana Vukic (25 October 2010). "Slovenia elects its 1st black mayor, known as the Obama of his town". The Associated Press. The Canadian Press, via Google. Retrieved 25 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Slovenia first Black Mayor". Kenya London News. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Stefan Bos (30 October 2010). "I’m not the ‘next Obama’ says Eastern Europe's first black mayor". The Sofia Echo. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 
  12. ^ (Slovene) "V Piranu zmagovalec Bossman, v Izoli Kolenc". SiOL. 24 October 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.  (English translation)
  13. ^ a b Catherine E. Shoichet (26 October 2010). "Seaside town elects Slovenia's first black mayor". CNN. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  14. ^ (Spanish) "Eslovenia tiene el primer alcalde negro del país". ABC. 2 November 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2010.  (English translation)
  15. ^ a b c Jo Adetunji (25 October 2010). "Peter Bossman becomes Eastern Europe's first black mayor". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2010. 
  16. ^ (Slovene) "Župan". Municipality of Piran. Retrieved 7 November 2010.  (English translation)
  17. ^ (Slovene) "Bossman prevzel župansko lento". Delo. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2010.  (English translation)