WHO IS WHO: Bulgaria's New Prime Minister Boyko Borisov
Boyko Metodiev Borisov was born on June 13, 1959, in the then village of Bankya, which today is a town of 10 000 inhabitants, and an administrative district of the greater Sofia Municipality.
Boyko Borisov's father, Metodi Borisov, was an officer at the Sofia City Directorate of the Interior Ministry, and his mother, Veneta Borisova, was a nursery school teacher in Bankya. Boyko Borisov's sister, Krasimira Ivanov, was born in 1965.
In 1982, Borisov graduated from the Interior Ministry Academy (then known as the Higher Special School of the Interior Ministry) with an engineering degree in "Firefighting Equipment and Safety", and a rank of lieutenant.
The same year Borisov started work at the fire department of the Sofia City Directorate of the Interior Ministry as a platoon commander. He later became a company commander.
In 1985, according to his own account, Borisov was sent as a battalion commander to the Northeast Bulgarian town of Dulovo to guard public order, and the harvesting of the crops. (The late 1980s (1985-1987) was the period of the so called "Revival Process" in which the communist regime initiated an assimilation campaign forcing Bulgarian Muslims and Bulgarian Turks to change their Arabic-sounding names with Slavic-sounding ones. The campaign met some resistance, and some police and army units were mobilized and relocated to safeguard order.)
In 1978, Borisov started practicing karate actively. He has been a long-time coach of the Bulgarian national karate team, and an international karate referee. He currently holds seventh dan. Borisov also practices actively other sports such as football and tennis. During a football game in May 2009 he broke his ankle, and got a 30-day medical leave just weeks before Bulgaria's 2009 elections for European and National Parliament.
In 1985-1990, Boyko Borisov was a Professor at the Higher Institute for Officers' Training and Scientific Research Activity of the Interior Ministry (Part of the Interior Ministry Academy. During that period he received a Ph. D. at the same institution. The topic of his doctoral dissertation was "Psycho-physical Training of the Operational Staff".
In 1991, Borisov founded the IPON-1 Ltd firm which became one of the largest security and personal protection company in Bulgaria. The firm itself is a member of the International Association of Personal Protection Agents (IAPPA), and Borisov himself is an individual member.
In the period 1991-2000, Borisov was mainly engaged with this business activity, with his firm being hired to provide personal protection for top political figures such as Bulgaria's former communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov, and Bulgaria's former Tsar, Simeon Saxe-Coburg (later to become Prime Minister).
During this period Borisov set up joint firms with Rumen Nikolov - "Pashata" ("the Pasha"), who is also a former officer of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry, and often described in the media as one of Bulgaria's underground world bosses, and with the Bulgarian intelligence officer, Aleksey Petrov.
According to Nikolov's account, however, his joint firms with Borisov back in the 1990s remained on paper, and never really got to function as economic entities over their disagreements.
According to Borisov's account, his joint firms with Nikolov and Petrov, were only formed to support the Bulgarian Karate Federation with which all of them were involved. Borisov also confirmed that those firms never actually functioned after a conflict between their founders broke out, and they never registered a single BGN of income.
In September, 2001, Boyko Borisov was appointed Chief Secretary of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry by the government of Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, and was simultaneously promoted to colonel. In 2002, Borisov was promoted to major general, and in June 2004 - to lieutenant general.
He served as Interior Ministry Chief Secretary during the whole term of PM Saxe-Coburg and his National Movement "Simeon Saxe-Coburg" (which was renamed to National Movement for Stability and Progress in 2007). During his term as Interior Ministry Secretary, Borisov gave up his salary in favor of state aid for children of Bulgarian policemen and firemen who were killed or died in action.
During the June 2005 Parliamentary Elections, Borisov was the number one candidate on the proportional ticket of Saxe-Coburg's party in both the Electoral District of Blagoevgrad, and the Electoral District of Plovdiv Region. Before the elections, Borisov declared he did not want to become a MP but would fulfill the wish of the party leader Simeon Saxe-Coburg. Thus, Borisov was elected a Member of Parliament but gave up this position in order to remain in the Interior Ministry.
After Sofia's previous Mayor, Stefan Sofiyanski, was elected a MP, and resigned from his position two years before the end of his term, in October 2005, Borisov ran as independent candidate, and was elected Sofia Mayor with a landslide. He was sworn into office on November 10, 2005.
Two years later, at the 2007 regular local elections, Borisov ran as a candidate of his own newly-formed party GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria), and again won overwhelmingly.
GERB was initially formed as a civic organization in March 2006 by persons close to Borisov, and formally became a political party on December 3, 2006. As Borisov was forbidden by law to be both a party leader and a mayor at the same time, his close associated, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, resigned as Deputy Mayor of Sofia to chair the party.
In March 2007, a publication at the US Congressional Quarterly Homeland Security by Jeff Stein, entitled "Bush's Bulgarian Partner in the Terror War Has Mob History, Investigators Say", claimed that Borisov was the most powerful politician in Bulgaria, a close ally of the then US President George W. Bush, and had connections to Bulgaria's top underworld bosses.
The article, however, contained a lot of incorrect or questionable information such as claiming that Borisov was Bulgaria's Interior Minister in 2001-2005, and that Borisov had been a major player in Bulgaria's 2006 deal with the Bush Administration for setting up American military bases in Bulgaria, potentially in preparation for an attack on Iran.
While the article has been a matter of great controversy and debate in Bulgaria, Borisov himself has pointed out that most of the information in it was incorrect, and that the article was fashioned back in Sofia by his political enemies, and then published in the Congressional Quarterly in order to compromise his image.
Borisov has stated he knew many of Bulgaria's murky businessmen also described as underworld bosses back from the years he was actively involved with karate, and since many of the persons in question were successful sportsmen, mostly wrestlers, they used adjacent or the same sports facilities in Sofia.
Boyko Borisov has been married once and is divorced. His former wife Stela is a doctor - an ophthalmologist. They have one daughter together named Veneta, who currently lives with her mother Stela in the USA, and is a student in Los Angeles. Borisov lives out of wedlock with banker Tzvetelina Borislavova, who is the Chair of the Supervisory Board of CIBank (aka Economic and Investment Bank).
In September 2009, the Belgian KBC Group bought 75% of CIBank (one of Bulgaria's ten largest banks) where the main shareholders were Tzvetelina Borislavova and the Novator Investment fund of the Iceland businessman Thor Bjorgolfsson. According to the deal, Borislavova has kept a share of 22,3% of the capital of CIBank.
Borislavova has two daughters named Ralitza and Veselina from her marriage with Stefan Abadzhiev.
Boyko Borisov has been awarded various medals, honors, and certificates for his police service by the Bulgarian institutions as well as by foreign and international police institutions including the police services of France, Russia, Spain, Europol, Turkey, the US Drug Enforcement Agency, Italy.
Boyko Borisov retains a public reputation as a strongman on law and order issues. He has pledged numerous times his uncompromising dedication to fighting corruption and organized crime. As a Sofia Mayor, he has initiated investigations of the municipally-owned companies which have led to the uncovering of a number of embezzlement schemes. He is said to have fired close associates from municipal jobs just over doubts of corruption.
Borisov's GERB party espouses a center-right ideology. He has repeatedly stated there was no way he could cooperate with the Bulgarian Socialist Party, and that one of his major missions was to oust from politics Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), as well as his party, because both the BSP and DPS were corrupt and abused power.
During a meeting with Bulgarian immigrants in Chicago in 2009, Borisov has stated that Bulgaria must try to turn neighboring Macedonia into a "friendly state" by using its economic and political influence.
PUBLIC SERVICE RECORD:
1982-1990 - officer at Fire Safety Service of the Sofia City Directorate of Bulgaria's Interior Ministry
2001-2005 - Chief Secretary, Interior Ministry
2005-present - Mayor of Bulgaria's capital Sofia
June 2005, Parliamentary Elections - Number one candidate on the proportional tickets of the former Tsar and PM Simeon Saxe-Coburg's party, National Movement Simeon the Second (renamed National Movement for Stability and Progress in 2007) in both Blagoevgrad Electoral District and Plovdiv Region Electoral District. Elected Member of Parliament but declined to take his seat in order to remain at an Interior Ministry job.
October 2005 - Early Local Elections - Sofia - Ran as an independent candidate. In the first round got 38,11% (136 840 votes). Tatyana Doncheva from the Bulgarian Socialist Party was second with 23,18% (83 250 votes). Svetoslav Gavriyski from the rightist Democrats for Strong Bulgaria was third with 16,76% (60 182 votes). 33,06% of the eligible voters cast their votes.
In the second round on November 5, 2005, Borisov received 68,50% (223 577 votes), Doncheva received 31,49% (102 804 votes). 30,08% of the 1 090 000 eligible voters cast their votes.
October 2007, Regular Local Elections - Sofia - Ran as a candidate of his newly-founded GERB party. Won at the first round with 53,43% (203 364 votes). Closest second was Martin Zaimov, candidate of the united right with 17,77% (67 602 votes); third was Brigo Asparuhov, candidate of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the left with 15,48% (58 867 votes). 36,51% of the eligible voters cast their votes.
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