Bulgaria. In March, Bulgaria went to parliamentary
elections. According to
Countryaah.com, victory made the center-right party GERB with
about 33% of the vote. The Socialist Party (BSP) got about
28%. GERB's party leader Boiko Borisov was able to form
government again. He was previously prime minister in
2009-13 and 2014-16.
In connection with the elections, Turkey was accused of
interfering in the electoral process by trying to pressure
the Turkish minority to vote for Turkish-friendly parties.
Bulgarian nationalists must therefore have guarded the
border with Turkey to prevent Bulgarian citizens living in
Turkey from entering the country to vote.
In June, a Swedish man was imprisoned who kicked a hotel
maid in the head in the resort of Sunny Beach. The incident
was documented by a surveillance camera. The 53-year-old man
risked three years in prison. In September, the verdict was
announced: a fine of SEK 24,000. According to the court, the
man showed an "absolute lack of humanity".
Bulgaria had a successful tourist season during the year,
an increase of just over 7%.
Suspicion of corruption and fraud in connection with
Bulgaria's procurement of new combat plan led to a
parliamentary commission of inquiry in September
recommending that the purchase be postponed for the future
and that the entire project restart. Among others, President
Rumen Radev was accused of interference. Saab has competed
with Portugal and Italy for an order worth SEK 7.5 billion.
Questions were raised about why Swedish Saab was included in
the procurement at all since Sweden is not a NATO country.
In June, two Bulgarian nationals were abducted in Iraq.
Truck drivers Georgi Lazov and Ivaylo Kepov were abducted
near Mosul north of Baghdad by Iraqi partisans. The
abductors demanded Iraqi prisoners in North American custody
be released. In July, the government announced that one of
the two hostages had been executed. The information was
initially reached through the Arab TV station al-Jazeera.
Before the execution, the Bulgarian government had sent a
diplomatic mission to Iraq to negotiate the release of the
hostages. Bulgaria already has a contingent of 500 soldiers
located in Kerbala south of Baghdad as part of the
occupation coalition. Despite the execution, the country's
military presence in Iraq did not change. In August, the
bodies of both hostages were found in the Tigris River.
In April 2005, Bulgaria and the EU signed the Protocol of
Accession, which from 1 January 2007 makes the country a
member of the EU. Among the reforms to be implemented by
then are intensifying the fight against corruption. By then,
the Bulgarian courts must prove that all citizens are
treated fairly and the anti-corruption authorities must
prove that no person in the community is exempt from
investigation or prosecution. Accession to the EU will have
a number of negative consequences for the country: heating
prices will rise drastically, subsidies for distressed parts
of industry will fall and unemployment will rise.
The June 2005 parliamentary elections were won by the
Coalition for Bulgaria, led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party
(BSP). Its leader Sergei Stanishev became prime minister
In April 2006, Bulgaria signed an agreement with the
United States on the establishment of joint military bases
in the country. The military agreement is 10 years old and
during this period both countries can use the bases for
training. The United States will have an average of 2,500
soldiers at its bases in Bulgaria.
In 2006, President Parvanov admitted that a "case file"
existed in the former communist intelligence system in
Bulgaria. When the Special Investigation Commission reached
Parvanov in 2007, it appeared that he was listed in the
service's archives as a "collaborator". But the concrete
documents about his activities were removed from the
On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria formally became a member of
the EU, bringing the number of member countries to 27. The
admission is conditional on Bulgaria to implement a judicial
reform and eliminate corruption in the country. In order to
curb the flow of migrant workers from Bulgaria to the rest
of the EU, from 2010 onwards, Bulgarians have free access to
the other member states in their search for work.
In June 2008, Prime Minister Stanishev was sharply
criticized by human rights organizations after remarks about
a gay parade in Sofia which, in his opinion, should not have
been carried out: "because he did not support demonstrations
for such positions".
The right-wing populist party GERB won the July 2009
parliamentary elections with 39.71% of the vote. The party's
chairman, Boyko Borisov, subsequently became the country's
prime minister at the head of a center-right government.
Borisov was former mayor of Sofia.
The country was hit hard by the global economic crisis.
GDP growth fell from 6.3% in 2008 to -4.9% in 2009. At the
same time, unemployment rose to 9.1%. Industrial production
fell by 10%, mining by 31% and metal production by 60%.
During his first years of government, Borisov developed
an extensive cult of personality around him, and wrote
school books about them to pay tribute to him. But
corruption, connections to the mafia and media repression
caused his popularity to plummet from 2011. Several of his
ministers were charged with telephone interception and