Petar Stefanov Stojanov (Bulgarian: Петър Стефанов Стоянов; born 25 May 1952) is a Bulgarian politician who was President of Bulgaria from 1997 to 2002. He was elected as a candidate of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF). He did not succeed in the next presidential elections and after leaving office refrained from politics for a while, but, later became an MP in 2005 and was Chairman of UDF from 1 October 2005 to 22 May 2007.
Stoyanov was born on 25 May 1952, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. After graduating from secondary school, Stoyanov entered the Saint Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia law faculty where he graduated with honors in 1976. He practiced civil law in Plovdiv through the next fifteen years. Stoyanov also speaks English and German in addition to his mother tongue Bulgarian.
Quickly after the political changes in Bulgaria at the end of 1989 from communism to democratic rule Stoyanov embarked on a political career (1990), co-founding and chairing a Democracy Club in Plovdiv. Later in the same year, he became spokesman of the Plovdiv Coordinating Council of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), a new Bulgarian coalitional opposition to the former ruling political parties (BKP and BZNS).
When in 1991 UDF formed first non-communist government after the political changes in Bulgaria, President Stoyanov served as Deputy Minister of Justice. In 1993, UDF government fell out of power due to parliamentary voting of approval that did not reach enough votes. Thenafter, in May 1993, Stoyanov became a President of the UDF Legal Council.
In 1994, he was elected Member of Parliament and he was Deputy Chairman of the UDF Parliamentary Group, also Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Youth, Sports, and Tourism. In 1995 he was Deputy Chairman of UDF responsible for domestic policy.
On 1 June 1996 Petar Stoyanov won the Union Democratic Forces presidential primary, 1996 with 66% of the 870,000 votes cast and was nominated as the presidential candidate of the UDF. In the presidential elections he received more votes than the socialist candidate Ivan Marazov and George Ganchev, founder and leader of Bulgarian Business Bloc, in the first round. He then defeated Marazov in a runoff by winning 59,73% of the votes cast. He was elected President of Bulgaria with the support of diverse opposition parties on 3 November 1996.
On 19 January 1997, he was sworn in as President and on 22 January 1997 stepped into office. He was the first Bulgarian Head of State after the Second World War, who was not a member of the Communist Party.
Right from the beginning of his tenure Petar Stoyanov faced the most dramatic crisis in the new history of Bulgaria. For more than a month, tens of thousands were protesting against the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) government. After the resignation of the Socialist Prime Minister Jean Videnov, the President of BSP, Georgi Parvanov and the newly appointed Prime Minister, Nikolay Dobrev, paid a visit to the newly elected Head of State with a Cabenit line-up of the new BSP Council of Ministers. Since they had absolute majority in the 37th National Assembly, the BSP (the former Communist Party) had the absolute majority to vote the new Cabinet. President Stoyanov refused to propose the BSP Cabinet to be voted in Parliament and on the same day, February 4th, 1997, he summoned the National Security Consultative Council, including representatives of all political forces. It is during this Consultative Council that the BSP were forced to concede their mandate to form a new cabinet, and so with the decisive role of the newly-elected Head of State the political crisis was ended. President Stoyanov appointed a Caretaker Government headed by Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofianski, who was elected by the Union of Democratic Forces, and appointed new parliamentary elections which were won by the UDF with full majority.
Term of Office
At the request of President Stoyanov, the Caretaker Government officially submitted a request for Bulgaria's membership in NATO. Petar Stoyanov also played an important role in resolving the Kosovo crisis, strongly supporting the Alliance.
Bulgaria entered into active negotiations for accession to the European Union, which was key to the country's subsequent accession to the EU.
Bulgaria ratified the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
In 1999, for the first time, a US President visited Bulgaria. At Stoyanov's invitation, Bill Clinton made a historic three-day visit between November 21/23.
During his term of office Stoyanov became the first Head of state in the world to sign a law with an electronic signature. Petar Stoyanov has been a member of the Internet Society - Bulgaria, since 21 July 2000.
The original of Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya was returned to the monastery library of the Zograf Monastery on January 12, 1998 at his decision.
Elections for president in 2001
Petar Stoyanov lost the presidential elections in 2001. In the first round of the 2001 voting he finished in second place, as the socialist candidate Georgi Parvanov received 36.3%, Stoyanov received 34.9% and Bogomil Bonev received 19.2%. Stoyanov lost the runoff to Parvanov 46.7% to 53.3%.
Petar Stoyanov ran for a second presidential term in 2001, but lost in the second round against Georgi Parvanov, although the initial sociological surveys were in his favour.
During a TV debate with the participation of the candidate for President Bogomil Bonev, Stoyanov produced a secret file containing information about Bonev’s alleged contacts with persons of dubious repute. The presenter Ivo Indzhev read it out on air. At the height of the disputes, the reply of the other Presenter, Svetla Petrova, was "you risk the biggest winner of the dispute to be Georgi Parvanov," who did not participate in the TV dispute due to a meeting with voters. The popular opinion is that Stoyanov's actions deterred many voters and, with his moderate behavior, Parvanov won the votes of the undecided voters. In fact, during the campaign Petar Stoyanov did not receive the full support of any political party. The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (the party of the Bulgarian ethnic Turks) strongly supported the candidate of the former Communist Party, Georgi Parvanov, despite the oppression that Bulgarian Turks were subjected to during the so-called "Revival process" by the oppressive bodies of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
Before the start of the campaign, Stoyanov was supported by the UDF, but voters were baffled by ambiguous statements by leaders of the Union of Democratic Forces. Despite the expectation that the NDSV, which had won the parliamentary elections by an absolute majority shortly before, would support Stoyanov, this did not happen. During the second round, the leader of the movement and the then prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha announced that he would not vote, motivated by the desire to save the state the cost of the trip to the village of Banya, where he was registered and this disheartened his followers and voters.
Petar Stoyanov lost the elections for a second presidential term and this marked the beginning of the end of the Union of Democratic Forces, backed by many hopes and expectations after the fall of communism in Bulgaria.
Later political career
In September 2004, Stoyanov was appointed as Special Envoy for Moldova of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.
In 2005, Stoyanov returned to active politics. He was elected as a member of the 40th National Assembly, where he became a member of the European Integration Committee and a member of State Administration Affairs Committee. Because of the UDF's inadequate result in these elections (8.4% of the popular vote, and 20 out of 240 seats), he blamed the party leader Nadezhda Mihailova, criticizing her policy. On October 1, 2005 the UDF National Conference elected him as Chairman.
On 20 May 2007 at the first Bulgarian elections for EU Parliament, Stoyanov – who led the UDF list – failed to get elected since UDF fell 1% short of the 5.66% electoral threshold. This resulted in his resignation from the chairmanship of the Union of Democratic Forces on 22 May 2007.
Stoyanov serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity. In 2002, as a fellow of The German Marshall Fund, Petar Stoyanov delivered lectures in the USA at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, New York University, American Bar Association (Washington, DC) and other universities.
Stoyanov is member of the Bulgarian Internet Society since 2000, and has been a regular Internet user.
He is married to Antonina Stoyanova and has a daughter Fany (born 1990) and a son Stefan (born 1979). His younger brother, Emil Stoyanov, is a former MEP from GERB.
Honours and awards
- Slovakia : Grand Cross (or 1st Class) of the Order of the White Double Cross (1997)
- Spain : Collar of the Order of Civil Merit
- Romania : Grand Cross with Sash of the Order of the Star of Romania (1998)
- Austria : Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1999)
- Denmark : Knight of the Order of the Elephant (2000)