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Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), 97-02-13

Bulgarian Telegraph Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Embassy of Bulgaria <>



13 February, 1997




    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov issued a decree today, dissolving the 37th National Assembly as of February 19. The President scheduled early elections for April 19.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Bulgarian President Peter Stoyanov made an address to the nation on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, he appointed a caretaker cabinet.

    Stoyanov said living standards in Bulgaria fell nearly tenfold in four years, and today some Bulgarian citizens live in poverty unknown in the civilized world. "This misery is not due to people's inability to manage their lives, but to the inability of their rulers to create normal living conditions," the President stressed. In his address, Stoyanov reminded that the lev depreciated nearly 100 times between 1991 and 1996, from 28 to 2, 800 leva to the dollar. Domestic debt rose threefold, incomes have declined in dollar terms sevenfold since 1991 and now the average monthly wage is only about $10.

    The President pointed out that he appointed a caretaker government, expecting it to tell Bulgarian people openly about the economic situation in the country and what the dimensions of the economic catastrophe are. He tasked the Cabinet to take decisive steps to ensure the survival of the poorest; to take immediate and firm action against the plunder of Bulgaria by criminals and criminal groups; to prevent the smuggling of valuables and capital abroad; to launch an uncompromising struggle against profiteering and corruption, starting with cleansing the government administration of corrupt employees; to pool efforts with the law-enforcement bodies in order to call to account individuals responsible criminal acts. Stoyanov also insists that every week the Prime Minister personally publicize through the media what has been done by the government and what are its economic expectations. The Head of Government will also be expected to prepare the country for early general elections so that they be held in a spirit of tolerance and respect of the law.

    The Bulgarian President is encouraged by the agreement among the political forces Tuesday not to impede the work of the caretaker government and allow it to work effectively for overcoming the crisis and for facilitating the work of the next full-term government. He said we have already paid dearly for our illusions and there is more to be paid in terms of social price. As he has done on several occasions, he voiced regret for not being able to promise Bulgarians their lives will become better very quickly, in the coming days and months. "However, we know what will save us: work and faith, faith in the talents and will of the nation and reliance on a fair dialogue between governing and the people," he concluded.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Prime Minister Stefan Sofiyanski and the caretaker ministers, appointed Wednesday by decree of President Peter Stoyanov, took oath before the President to serve Bulgaria.

    As he was handing the decree to the caretaker government, President Stoyanov said that he is appointing the Cabinet quickly, so as to put an end to the agony of the outgoing Socialist cabinet. He emphasized that part of the measures that the caretaker government will undertake will be unpopular. Stoyanov was categorical that if there is enough will and skill to protect the national interests, Bulgaria will receive the promised aid. "Never has the Bulgarian people laid so much hope and expectations with a caretaker government," President Stoyanov said at the ceremony.

    This will be a wise government with a human face, Sofiyanski told reporters. He emphasized that the country is experiencing a severe crisis, which could only be overcome by joint efforts. "It is important that we leave aside petty conflicts and pool forces to change something in this country, to lay the groundwork for a sustainable growth," said Sofiyanski. He is an optimist and believes Bulgaria will make it with joint efforts.

    At 9 a.m. on Thursday in the government building the caretaker Prime Minister will meet his predecessor Zhan Videnov. The ministers of the outgoing and of the incoming governments are scheduled to meet at 9.30. The caretaker government will hold its first sitting at 10 in the morning and will give its first official news conference an hour later.

    Speaking on National Radio Wednesday, Sofiyanski stressed there will be no take-over ceremonies. "I am taking to work immediately," he said. Bulgaria will not be able to get out of the crisis in three months but the caretaker government should start changing realities in Bulgaria. As far as the budget is concerned, Sofiyanski relies heavily on quick negotiations with the international financial institutions and on a sweeping privatization. He believes that the country has drawn public interest in the West and the question now is to capitalize on that.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofiyanski is the Prime Minister of the caretaker government appointed by President Peter Stoyanov.

    Political analysts say Sofiyanski enjoys an equally high approval by both the Socialist party, until recently the ruling formation, and the anti- communist Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) whose supporters elected him to the mayoral office in late 1995.

    The 45-year-old economist is married with three children. He started his career at the Ministry of Information and Communications where he served from 1973-76. In the course of 14 years till 1990 he worked at the Institute of Economy, Organization and Management of Construction. From 1991 till 1993 he headed the Committee of Posts and Telecommunications but was forced to quit by Lyuben Berov, the then prime minister of a coalition government that held office from late 1992 till late 1994, for participating in a protest rally of the UDF. "I believe one should say out his political views," he said on this occasion. Then he became deputy leader of the UDF.

    From 1993 till 1994 he was member of the Managing Board of the Post Bank believed to be one of the most stable state-owned banks and headed the Managing Board of the upscale Vitosha Hotel, now Inter- Continental. In 1994 he was elected to the 37th National Assembly on the UDF ticket.

    Sofiyanski became Sofia Mayor after winning a landslide victory over the candidate of the Socialist party. A poll held an year after he stepped in office showed he enjoyed a 70% approval rating among Sofianites, extraordinarily high for such an office. During his first year in office he took up the most pressing problems of the capital city. He repaired many of Sofia's badly potholed streets and several major thoroughfares, opened a hotline for complaints and recommendations, managed to clean the dirty streets and fix street lights, and opened soup-kitchens that still run in spite of severe fund shortages. He also opened a Municipal Bank.

    Sofiyanski is an ardent reformist. "We have a potential both economic and political - and if we take it to work we will succeed with the reforms. We should convince people to embrace the ideas of reforms and the will for implementing them," he said several days ago before he was officially named as Head of Government.

    He said a working caretaker government will provide a flying start for the government to be appointed after early general elections around mid-April.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Mr Sofiyanski told reporters he was pleased with the composition of the caretaker government. He said that neither the opposition Union of Democratic Forces nor any other political forces exerted pressure when the ministers were picked. "I am glad that those asked to assume caretaker portfolios agreed to work together," the new prime minister added.

    "In three months' time Bulgaria will hardly be able to emerge from the crisis, we must start to change realities in Bulgaria and to try to normalize the social and economic situation in this country," Mr Sofiyanski said, quoted on Wednesday by National Radio. He added that this is not up to any one personality or any one political party but is only possible if there is a public consensus on the reform.

    In his radio interview the prime minister declared his cabinet's readiness to start immediate talks with the trade unions so as to ensure social peace during its tenure.

    "I hope that additional resources can also be pooled so as to finance the early elections and meet urgent public payments," Mr Sofiyanski also said. He expressed the hope that the national budget can be utilized better than so far and that some budget priorities could be rearranged.

    "I rely heavily on fast negotiations with the international financial institutions and on fast privatization for the overall state of the budget. We have awakened public interest in the West - the point now is to turn it into economic results," the interim head of government told his National Radio interviewer.

    Mr Sofiyanski told reporters that Nelly Koutskova, so far president of the Sofia District Court, will be chief secretary of the caretaker government, and the Government Press Office will be headed by Ekaterina Boncheva, a journalist working for Radio Free Europe. The prime minister said he will not appoint his own advisers and that there will be quite a few cuts in the structure of the Council of Ministers to be made, but would not specify the units slated to go.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - BTA received the following composition of the caretaker cabinet from the Press Secretariat of the Presidency

    Prime Minister: Stefan Sofiyanski

    Deputy Prime Minister: Alexander Bozhkov

    Deputy Prime Minister: Haralambi Anchev

    1. Foreign Ministry - Stoyan Stalev

    2. Ministry of the Interior - Bogomil Bonev

    3. Defence Ministry - Georgi Ananiev

    4. Finance Ministry - Svetoslav Gavriiski

    5. Justice Ministry - Haralambi Anchev

    6. Ministry of Health - Emil Takov

    7. Ministry of Regional Development and Construction Nikola Karadimov

    8. Ministry of Education, Science and Technologies - Prof. Ivan Lalov

    9. Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry - Roumen Hristov

    10. Ministry of the Environment - Ivan Filipov

    11. Ministry of Culture - Emil Tabakov

    12. Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare - Ivan Neikov

    13. Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Cooperation Daniela Bobeva

    14. Ministry of Power Engineering - Georgi Stoilov

    15. Ministry of Transport - Wilhelm Krauss

    16. Ministry of Industry - Alexander Bozhkov.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - ALEXANDER BOZHKOV (45) was born in Sofia and graduated the Industrial Heating Equipment Department of the Sofia Higher Institute of Mechanical Engineering. He is Deputy Prime Minister will also serve as the MINISTER OF INDUSTRY. In 1992-93 Bozhkov was the executive director of the Privatization Agency. An MP in the present Parliament, he is a deputy chairman of the parliamentary Economic Committee and the Interparliamentary Group, chairman of the subcommittee for privatization and of the Bulgaria-Britain Friendship Group. Married, with one child.

    HARALAMBI ANCHEV (43), MINISTER OF JUSTICE, was born in the Black Sea city of Bourgas. He graduated the Law Faculty of the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Started a lawyer's career in 1980 and in 1992-95 served as chief secretary of the Bar Association. Secretary of the Central Electoral Commission in 1994-96. Married, with one child.

    Bulgarian Ambassador to Germany STOYAN STALEV (45) is FOREIGN MINISTER in the caretaker government. Born in Sofia, he is a lawyer by training. Holds a PhD in law and has specialized maritime law in the United States, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany. From 1971 till 1990 Stalev was a practicing lawyer and taught international private law and maritime commercial law. In 1990 he was appointed presidential adviser on legal matters. Married, with two children.

    Presidential National Security Adviser BOGOMIL BONEV was appointed INTERIOR MINISTER. Born in September 1957, he graduated the Higher Institute with the Interior Ministry and the Department of Law of the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. Served as criminal inspector in the Sofia Investigative Department in 1981-90, head of the Sofia Directorate of the Interior in 1991-92 and Interior Ministry chief secretary in the 1992 cabinet of the now opposition UDF. In 1993 he started a lawyer's career and also served as an expert with the UDF parliamentary group in the previous and present parliament. Divorced, with two children.

    DEFENCE MINISTER is GEORGI ANANIEV. Born in 1950 in the Kossacha village near Sofia, he served as deputy defence minister in the 1992 UDF government. A graduate of the Institute of Mining and Geology in Sofia and a Major of the reserve, he was appointed deputy Sofia district governor in 1992. MP in the present Parliament and member of the parliamentary National Security Committee. Married, with two children.

    SVETOSLAV GAVRIISKI (48) is FINANCE MINISTER. Born in the Danubian town of Svishtov, he is a foreign trade graduate of the Sofia Institute of Economics. Appointed as Finance Ministry expert in 1972. Deputy Finance Minister since 1992. Single.

    The former chief of the Foreign Investment Agency DANIELA BOBEVA is the MINISTER OF TRADE AND FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION. Born in Sofia in September 1958, she graduated political economy from the Sofia Institute of Economy and got a PhD in 1990. She headed the Employment and Labour Market Department of the Labour Ministry in the 1992 UDF government and served as government advisor in 1993. Married, with two children.

    Bulgarian Ambassador to Denmark since 1993 NIKOLA KARADIMOV (54) was appointed CONSTRUCTION AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER. Born in the second biggest city of Plovdiv, he graduated architecture at the Sofia Higher Institute of Architecture and Construction and specialized housing policy at the National Institute of Housing Policy in Brussels and the University of Sussex, Britain. In 1987-91 he was in charge of housing policy at the Construction Ministry and represented Bulgaria at the working group on housing policy with the Genevabased UN Economic Commission for Europe. Minister of Construction from November 1991 till late 1992. Married, with two children.

    TRANSPORT MINISTER is WILHELM KRAUSS, Sofia deputy mayor in charge of transport and transport infrastructure since 1992. Born in Sofia in April 1949, he is a mechanical engineer by training and has a degree in automobile transport from the Sofia Technical University. Married, with two children.

    Presidential chief administrative secretary ROUMEN HRISTOV (41) is appointed MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRY. Born in Borovo, Northern Bulgaria, he graduated economy of agriculture at the Plovdiv Higher Institute of Agriculture. He was deputy agriculture minister in the 1992 government of the UDF and the 1993 government of independent Lyuben Berov, and agriculture minister in the 1994 caretaker government of Reneta Indjova. In 1995 he was appointed agriculture adviser of former President Zhelyu Zhelev. Married, with one child.

    GEORGI STOILOV is the MINISTER OF ENERGY in the caretaker cabinet. Born in the Southern Bulgarian town of Svilengrad in August 1944, he graduated the Power Plants Department of the Sofia Higher Institute of Mechanical Engineering. He founded the Union of Energy Industry Workers and the Energy Industry Society with the Eco-Glasnost national movement. Married, with three children.

    The deputy leader of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) IVAN NEIKOV (41) is the new MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS. Born in Haskovo, Southern Bulgaria, he graduated from the Law Faculty of the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. He participated in drafting many laws and statutory acts pertaining to labour. Attended the 79th, 80th and 82nd conferences of the International Labour Organization as a representative of Bulgarian labour at the Committee on Resolutions. Heads the CITUB delegation to the trilateral committee of trade unions, government and employers. Married, with two children.

    Former chief of the Pirogov emergency hospital in Sofia EMIL TAKOV (47) is appointed MINISTER OF HEALTH CARE. He graduated the Sofia Medical Academy and worked in Pirogov from 1982 till 1996 when he was dismissed from the director's office. Married, with one child.

    The 45-year-old Director of operation PHARE with the Ministry of Environment IVAN FILIPOV is the MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT. A telematics graduate of the Sofia Higher Institute of Mechanical Engineering, he was chief secretary and deputy minister at the Environment Ministry from December 1991 till January 1993. Married, with two children.

    St. Kliment Ohridski University Rector PROF. IVAN LALOV (58) is the MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGIES. He also headed the Council of Rectors of Bulgarian Institutions of Higher Education. Born in Lovech, Northern Bulgaria, he took a degree in physics of the solid state at the Department of Physics of the St. Kliment Ohridski University. A long- serving teacher at the Department of Physics and Dean in 1991-93. In 1992 he headed the Union of Physicists and in 1995 the Bulgarian- Korean Friendship Society.

    Outstanding Bulgarian conductor EMIL TABAKOV is the MINISTER OF CULTURE. Born in the Danubian city of Rousse, he graduated the Sofia Academy of Music with a degree in composing, conducting and double bass. Tabakov has been chief conductor and Music Director of the Sofia philharmonic orchestra since 1987 and in 1994 became Music Director and chief conductor of the Belgrade philharmonic orchestra. Married, with two children.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Bulgaria will hold to early elections with an adjusted electoral law. The amendments passed on first reading at a sitting of Parliament Wednesday. They affect the colour of ballot papers, the access of political forces to air time during the campaign, the limits on campaign funds for candidates, and some technical procedures in the conduct of polling. The bill is up for second and conclusive reading on Thursday.

    The colour of the ballot papers remains a moot point. The Left MPs moved that white papers be used, while the representatives of the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) insisted on coloured ballot papers.

    The Left MPs proposed a reduction of the 4 per cent of the national vote threshold, required for a party to win a seat in Parliament. Representatives of the opposition Popular Union and the independent Mps initially backed proposal to lower of the threshold to 3 per cent. On Tuesday, however, the Popular Union withdrew its motion.

    The lowering of the limit would diversify parliament, admitting to it smaller political formations such as the emerging Euro-Left and ex- president Zhelyu Zhelev's Liberal Democratic Alternative. On the other hand, the lower threshold may open parliament to the Communists, who garnered 1 per cent of the vote in the previous elections.

    The UDF MPs adamantly opposed the lowering of the barrier. "The Left is trying to bring into the National Assembly minor formations in the hope of forming a new Left coalition with them," said UDF leader Ivan Kostov. "A lower threshold, however, will open the door to extreme political parties which will destabilize parliament," he emphasized. The UDF leader confirmed a position which the Union expressed earlier, saying that the UDF will resist such amendments and will insist that the President veto such legislation.

    Mr Kostov argued that the electoral law should be amended only by consensus of all parliamentary groups. "The President suggested that technical adjustments be introduced which do not address matters of principle but make it possible to hold parliamentary elections successfully," he recalled. In his view, Parliament's consent will help the caretaker cabinet conduct fair and normal elections which will finally resolve the political crisis in this country.

    The amendments to the law do not change in any significant way the current electoral system, which is proportional representation with closed party lists. V.Vulkanov, an MP of the Democratic Left withdrew a bill for the introduction of a mixed electoral system. A another bill, moved by three independent MPs, suggesting a switch to a majority voting system, was also edited out. Radical changes in the law were deemed too complicated and likely to give rise to numerous discussions and long debate.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - An emergency mission of the European Union will arrive in Bulgaria in the coming days. The delegation is disposed to hold negotiations on the needs of Bulgaria parallel to the International Monetary Fund rather than after it, the Chief of Bulgaria's Mission to the European Union in Brussels Evgeni Ivanov told the President's Press Secretariat.


    Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - On Wednesday President Peter Stoyanov received officers from special services of the Sofia dirctorate of the police. They delivered a declaration demanding pay raises. Stoyanov told the officers defence and national security were high among the priorities of the caretaker cabinet, according to the political agreement signed Tuesday. General Bogomil Bonev, the President's national security advisor, now appointed Minister of the Interior, promised to restore the tripartite council (of government, trade unions and employees) in the Interior Ministry, in his first days as caretaker interior minister.
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