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Boyko Borisov
Бойко Борисов
Бойко Борисов (52111618357).jpg
Borisov in 2022
Chairman of GERB
Assumed office
10 January 2010
Preceded by Tsvetan Tsvetanov
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
In office
4 May 2017 – 12 May 2021
President Rumen Radev
Preceded by Ognyan Gerdzhikov (acting)
Succeeded by Stefan Yanev (acting)
In office
7 November 2014 – 27 January 2017
Preceded by Georgi Bliznashki (acting)
Succeeded by Ognyan Gerdzhikov (acting)
In office
27 July 2009 – 13 March 2013
  • Simeon Dyankov
  • Tsvetan Tsvetanov
Preceded by Sergey Stanishev
Succeeded by Marin Raykov (acting)
President of the Council of the European Union
In office
1 January 2018 – 1 July 2018
Preceded by Jüri Ratas
Succeeded by Sebastian Kurz
Mayor of Sofia
In office
10 November 2005 – 27 July 2009
Preceded by Stefan Sofiyanski
Succeeded by Yordanka Fandakova
Personal details
Boyko Metodiev Borisov

(1959-06-13) 13 June 1959 (age 65)
Bankya, Stolichna Municipality, Bulgaria
Political party GERB (2006–present)
Other political
Spouse Stela Borisova (divorced)
Children 1
Boyko Borisov
Personal information
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2013–2014 Vitosha Bistritsa 2 (0)
  • 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 served as the prime minister of Bulgaria from 2009 to 2013, 2014 to 2017, and 2017 to 2021, making him Bulgaria's second-longest serving prime minister to date.

Borisov was elected Mayor of Sofia in 2005. In December 2005, he was the founding chairman of the conservative political party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), becoming its lead candidate in the 2009 general election. Borisov led GERB to a landslide victory in 2009, defeating the incumbent Socialist Party, and resigned as mayor of Sofia to be sworn in as Prime Minister. He resigned in 2013, after nationwide protests against the government's energy policy, but after leading GERB to victory in the 2014 general election, he became Prime Minister again. His second term ended similarly to his first, after Borisov resigned in January 2017, this time following GERB's defeat in the 2016 presidential election. As before, Borisov led GERB to election victory again in the snap 2017 general election, becoming Prime Minister for a third time.

Under Borisov's cabinets Bulgaria saw improved macroeconomic stability and political stability while remaining the EU's poorest member, with nearly a quarter of its population below national poverty lines. Foreign direct investment fell and corruption have led as recently as June 2019 to repeated rejection of Bulgaria's attempts to join the Schengen Area. Electoral results for Borisov and his party were overshadowed by allegations of fraud in 2013, 2015, and in 2019 both locally and for the European Parliament. Judicial threats and attacks against journalists increased to the point where journalism in Bulgaria became "dangerous" according to Reporters Without Borders, which ranked Bulgaria 111th globally in press freedom in 2019. Former U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew said in 2019 that a "national political environment with little government or criminal accountability and no serious opposition to challenge the current government" was in place as a result of collusion, corruption and stifling of the media under Borisov. On 17 March 2022, Borisov was detained after allegations of misuse of EU funds, he was released after spending 24 hours in prison.

In 2013, while Prime Minister, Borisov became the oldest person ever to play for a Bulgarian professional club when he appeared for FC Vitosha Bistritsa in the B Group, the second division of Bulgarian football.

Early life and family

Borisov was born in 1959 in Bankya (then a village, today a town, part of Stolichna Municipality) to the Ministry of Internal Affairs official Metodi Borisov and elementary school teacher Veneta Borisova. Borisov has claimed that his grandfather was executed by the communists for being a Nikola Petkov supporter in the wake of the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944. This has been disputed, however, as Nikola Petkov was still an ally of the communist insurgents in 1944. Furthermore, Borisov's later rise within the ranks of communist-era security services would have been unlikely with such family background. Other sources point that Borisov's grandfather either died during a criminal incident, or that both his grandfathers died peacefully in the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1977, Borisov graduated from Bankya's high school with excellent grades. 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. 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. From 1985 to 1990, Borisov was a lecturer at the Higher Institute for Police Officers Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior.

Borisov quit the Ministry in 1991 with the rank of major, after formally refusing to renounce his Communist Party membership, or "depoliticise". In 1991, he founded a private security company, Ipon-1. He subsequently became bodyguard to Bulgaria's last communist leader, Todor Zhivkov, after the latter was overthrown in 1989, and to Simeon II. Borisov has been claiming participation in karate championships since 1978, serving as the coach of the Bulgarian national team and a referee of international matches. He said to United States President Barack Obama that he has a 7th dan black belt in karate, but his coach denied this, and stated that Borisov has never been even a karate competitor, but only an administrator of the team.

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.

Civil servant

Boyko Borisov was the Chief Secretary of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior between 2001 and 2005, with the rank of General. During that period, he became famous for getting the notorious mobster Sreten Jocić apprehended.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections he was a parliamentary candidate of the National Movement Simeon II; he was elected in two regions but decided to retain his job as Chief Secretary of the Ministry. Later in 2005, he resigned from that post, instead of standing as a candidate in the mayoral election in Sofia. He was elected as Mayor and succeeded Stefan Sofiyanski. He was re-elected in the 2007 election.

First term as Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Borisov's party GERB also won the parliamentary election on 5 July 2009 by collecting 39.72% of the popular vote and 117 of the 240 seats in parliament.

Since 27 July 2009 Borisov served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria in a GERB-dominated centre-right minority government 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 Dyankov, a former high-ranking World Bank official, and Rosen Plevneliev, manager of a large German subsidiary in Bulgaria.

Domestic policy

Boyko Borisov 2
Borisov in 2009

Borisov's stated policies were mostly aimed at curbing corruption in the public administration 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. The government also approved a strategy for the development of the energy sector until 2020, which includes the completion of gas interconnectors with Greece, Romania, and Turkey and expanding renewable energy capacities. The Borisov government stopped the Belene Nuclear Power Plant project after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The acquisition of European funds has increased from 2.6% to 20%.

Specialized police actions have tackled corruption in the administration and a number of high-profile members of the organized crime have been imprisoned, though as of May 2011 there was little improvement in the rule of law. At the same time the government has been criticized by other EU members for the erosion of media freedom, falling attractiveness to investors and continuing mafia activities. These criticisms were repeatedly leveled against Deputy Prime Minister Tzvetan Tzvetanov, who is formally under investigation for wiretapping members of the government and parliament. During his trial, his actions were found to be justified. Media leaks raised suspicions that Borisov may have tried to interfere in the case.

According to France24, "Once in power, he toured the country incessantly to inaugurate infrastructure projects but failed to enact structural reforms or to tackle the rampant corruption and organized crime that Brussels has long complained about". In January 2011 Euractive wrote, "The ineffective judiciary has been largely unable to send to jail any high-profile criminals".

Borisov is a strong supporter of the total smoking ban. Although initially removing the ban introduced by the previous government, the Borisov Cabinet reintroduced it in 2012 with the aim to reduce the number of smokers from 40% of the population to about 15–20%. By 2013, the ban had led to a 3-4% decrease in cigarette sales.

Following public opposition, Borisov's government banned hydraulic fracturing for shale gas exploration and extraction. A permit granted to Chevron for shale gas exploration was revoked, and any violation of the ban is subject to a 100 million leva ($58 million) fine.

Protests of doctors and other health professionals broke out in 2010 over failure to reform the health care sector, resulting in delayed payments and salaries. In March 2010, health minister Bozhidar Nanev resigned over a conflict of interest scandal. He was replaced by Anna-Maria Borisova, whom Boyko Borisov met accidentally on an intersection near Veliko Tarnovo and decided was fit to carry out the reform. She resigned a mere six months later, failing to implement any reforms.

Secretary Clinton and Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov Hold a Joint Press Conference (6851648183) (cropped1)
Hillary Clinton holds a joint press conference with Borisov at the Council of Ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria, on February 5, 2012.


France's TotalEnergies energy company was granted an oil and gas exploration licence in 2012 to prospect for fossil fuels in Bulgaria's economic area of the Black Sea. TotalEnergies won the tender in competition with ExxonMobil and United Kingdom’s Melrose Resources, which had - as of 2012 - three exploration licences for areas of Bulgaria’s Black Sea shelf. This decision was hotly debated by the political opposition and led to the start of nationwide strikes in the fall and winter of 2012.

Following the new 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. Before that, Borisov had accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Simeon Djankov after a dispute 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 election due in summer was rescheduled for 12 May 2013. Djankov's resignation was a blow to Borisov's center-right credentials, since Djankov spearheaded the reforms during their term in office. He was also regarded as able manager of the public administration.

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

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

Second term as Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Domestic policy

Ilham Aliyev met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov 3
Borisov with Ilham Aliyev.

During Borisov's second government, the business climate and promised reforms took a nosedive. "Reforms failed to get off the ground, in particular, changes to the justice system and plans to help cash-strapped schools and the creaking health care system". Additionally, Bulgaria's parliament rejected an anti-corruption law.

The cultivation of genetically modified crops was banned in 2015.

Foreign policy

Borisov's government saw the cancellation of the South Stream gas pipeline project. Russia and Gazprom lobbied for the pipeline's construction, which would have circumvented existing, insecure gas pipelines passing through Ukraine, and would have continued into Central Europe. Borisov's government instead emphasized an interconnector link with Romania, Greece, Turkey and Serbia, to redistribute natural gas from multiple sources.

A fence was built along the border with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants during the European migrant crisis. Border control was also tightened. Some 17,000 people were detained by October 2016, down by more than a third compared to 2015. A riot broke out in a migrant camp near Harmanli in 2016, prompting a police response with water cannons and rubber bullets, and later a closure of the camp.

Third term as Prime Minister of Bulgaria

Wizyta premier Beaty Szydło w Bułgarii (37153596286)
Borisov with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło, September 2017
Reuven Rivlin meeting with Boyko Borisov, June 2018 (1238)
Borisov with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, June 2018

After the 2017 parliamentary elections, Borisov became Prime Minister again, beginning his third term in this position. On 27 April, President Rumen Radev handed Borisov the mandate for the forming of Bulgaria's new government. Reuters wrote, "Bulgaria's centre-right GERB party signed a coalition agreement on Thursday [4/27/17] with a nationalist alliance that will bring former prime minister Boiko Borisov back to power for his third term since 2009". By 2018, foreign direct investment had collapsed to 2% of GDP, or $1.13 billion. A number of major foreign companies, including E.ON, Modern Times Group, ČEZ Group, Société Générale and Telenor initiated their withdrawal from the Bulgarian market either due to poor profitability or corruption and government interference.

In June 2018, a public tender was launched to build the natural gas interconnector link with Turkey. Borisov's plans to build a Balkan Gas Hub near Varna aims to ensure competition between Russian gas supplies from TurkStream, Azerbaijani gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivered via Greece. However, analyst Vasko Nachev noted that the gas connection to Greece is not linked to any transiting gas pipelines and that the anticipated new delivery routes are "non-existent".

EPP EaP Leaders' Meeting - 21 May (17751544319)
Boyko Borisov and Angela Merkel

In June 2018 - Petar Nizamov - an opponent of Boyko Borisov was ambushed in front of his Home by murderers, according to him that he was Ambushed because he exposed that Boyko Borisov has been detained in Czech republic for 8 months in 1991 with a gand for rocketeering and car steelings. Petar Nizamov publicly accused Boyko Borisov of being a guarantor of the attempt against him.

During a regional summit, Borisov announced that Bulgaria will participate in a joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Euro 2028 with Serbia, Romania and Greece.

Borisov received Order of the Republic of Serbia in February 2019. He thanked the Serbian president in the name of Bulgarian people, promised to further help Serbian EU agenda and the overall relations of the two neighboring states.

In March 2019, a journalist investigation revealed that real estate company Arteks had sold a luxury property at prices sharply lower than the market value to a number of senior government officials. These include justice minister Tsetska Tsacheva, GERB deputy chairman Tsvetan Tsvetanov and deputy sports minister Vanya Koleva, who all subsequently resigned. Deputy Energy minister Krasimir Parvanov, Supreme Judicial Council member Gergana Mutafova and GERB MP Vezhdi Rashidov had also obtained sub-market price real estate from Arteks. Additionally, anti-corruption commission head Plamen Georgiev, National Investigative Service head Borislav Sarafov and tourism minister Nikolina Angelkova were implicated in similar schemes. Another journalist investigation also revealed that, back in 2015, the anti-corruption commission under Plamen Georgiev had terminated an investigation into irregularities in Tsvetan Tsvetanov's declared revenue and real estate evaluations.

President Trump Welcomes the Prime Minister of Bulgaria (49124832977)
President Donald Trump meets with Boyko Borisov November 25, 2019, in the Oval Office of the White House.

Further investigations revealed that Borisov's deputy economy minister, Aleksandar Manolev, built a private dwelling using funds from an EU development program. Numerous similar estates, built as bed and breakfast houses using EU funds, were revealed to have been used as private property in a similar manner. Overall, 749 guesthouses were revealed to have been built under the programme since 2007. The Attorney General's office launched an investigation following the reports.

Borisov's government received further criticism for its handling of African swine fever virus outbreaks which caused the culling of tens of thousands of pigs in several regions in July 2019. EU Health and Food Safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said that Bulgaria "had not done much" to prevent the outbreak and was facing the prospect of losing its entire pig farming industry to the disease. Additionally, culled pigs were hastily buried, sometimes close to bodies of water, instead of incinerated, as the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency had previously closed down an incinerator in the affected region.

In October 2019, Borisov urged European Union to stop its criticism of Turkey, adding that Bulgaria's relations with Turkey are good-neighbourly. Several days later on 15 October, Bulgaria turned harsher, condemning the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria and firmly insisting that it immediately stop.

On 25 October 2020, Borisov tested positive for COVID-19. He said on Facebook that he had "general malaise." By 10 November, he had made a recovery from the disease. While Bulgaria initially reacted quickly by taking strong measures against COVID-19 in March 2020, Borisov's handling of the pandemic subsequently drew sharp criticism as the country was severely affected during the autumn months after a loosening of restrictions over the course of the summer season.

Rivalry with President Radev

Borisov spent much of his term locked in an institutional war with President Rumen Radev, the latter an opposition-sponsored independent and former Air Force General that defeated Borisov's preferred candidate in the 2016 Bulgarian presidential election. The two became bitter rivals, accusing each other of leading the country into crisis. This would eventually lead to President Radev supporting the 2020-2021 protests against Borisov's government.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Boiko Borísov para niños

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