Bulgaria's Prime Minister Borisov - Lonely and LostEditorial |Author: Maria Guineva | June 16, 2011, Thursday // 14:22| views
In the eve of his birthday, Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, announced he wanted to lock himself inside his house, dividing the nation into people feeling sorry for him and those wishing he would never come out again.
In Bulgaria, no other prominent politician's birthday gets this much attention and no one, except maybe the leader of the ethnic Turkish party, Ahmed Dogan, gets this showered with gifts, prompting memories of totalitarian times.
In a series of heart-wrenching interviews, preceding the remarkable for Bulgaria date of June 13, we learned the following about Borisov:
His birthday is no longer his favorite thing; he wants to run away in horror in order to avoid seeing people, provoking jokes such as: "If I knew Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, would be coming, I would run away or lock myself in too..."
He is lonely; his personal life is over, and the willing female journalist would not find a pair of woman's underwear or clothing in his bedroom and closets – admissions stirring sorrow and disappointment in half of the Bulgarian electorate and the hordes of female worshippers, following his every footstep, along with increased desire to keep the PM company and bring him a home-cooked meal.
He believes in God, makes the sign of the cross three times every morning, saying in the mirror "Dear God, you ahead, I will follow," because his mother taught him so. He must have had a very brave mother then – my father, a quiet intellectual, whose relatives were tried by the Communist People's Tribunal and sent to the Belene concentration camp, strongly discouraged me from going to church on major holidays over State Security agents spying and making lists with the names of those who dared. It was only after the fall of Communism when I realized that my father was a deeply religious person.
He is very superstitious – does not shave, cut his nails or give money on Mondays; if a black cat crosses the road, he makes the driver from the National Security Services turn around and chose an alternative route – again, all things his mother told him. Being both deeply religious and deeply superstitious sounds like an oxymoron, but who knows?
His biggest dream had been to remain Chief Secretary of the Interior, but he was forced out by enemies. He cried when he realized he had to part with his police job.
Power changed his life in the most "disgusting" way – the boys from his neighborhood, the Sofia suburb of Bankya, no longer want to play football with the PM, being startled after reading lies and slander about him.
He gambles when he plays tennis with bets such as roasted chicken, a pitcher of beer, or a BGN 1 bill.
He NO LONGER goes to the theater or to the movies, only with other members of the cabinet, and only when he has to, because he is surrounded by security guards and people stare at him.
He does not drink, smokes a cigar here and there, and relaxes by playing cards, but never with his close friend – the CEO of Lukoil Bulgaria, Valentin Zlatev, because the latter cheats too much.
The normalcy of his life is broken – a once favorite pastime – to visit the football stadium in shorts and spit sunflower seeds is no longer on the list; it is not even desirable over obsessing with the work of the cabinet and the ministers.
He has faith he will remain in history as the person who built Bulgaria's highways.
Maybe Borisov is sincere, and believes every one of these confessions to be true. Depending on the view point, the whole affair with the interviews could be either seen as something requiring compassion or very entertaining.
If it wasn't for this thing called political responsibility.
Bulgaria's PM is notorious for making statements with major implications for the country, only to change his mind, often just hours later - U-turns which stir utter chaos, disappointment and confusion. Recent examples include criticizing actions against Libya in the morning and issuing a special statement in the evening, declaring that regime of Muammar Gaddafi has lost any kind of legitimacy, and must go immediately; saying the Presidential Office is not important to GERB and the party does not need it and clarifying later it was not important to him "personally"; promising to raise retirement pensions and the minimum monthly wage, only to explain, during another speech, he wished to give everyone more money, but the raise is postponed over lack of funding per Finance Minister Djankov and Bulgarians must learn how to work harder in order to have better pay.
In one of the birthday interviews, Borisov declared he already knew who would be the person to run in the fall for President on the ballot of his Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party. He threw the name of former King and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg – also a former leader of the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP), saying the latter had made the greatest contribution to Bulgaria's EU membership, and is the most prepared politician to become President of the country.
The statement made headlines in the otherwise quiet summer Sunday, generating serious comments from serious political analysts, listing the pros and cons of having the former King as President.
They are not to blame, since as the leader of the country, Borisov must be taken seriously. He, however, refuses to reveal the name of his presidential candidate, setting the latest deadline at September 4 – a move that will inundate the entire summer with wild speculations; a move totally unfair to voters, who should be able to now the nomination at least half a year prior to Election Day.
Of course, on his birthday, the PM did not run away and hide – seemingly shaven, (we cannot tell if he cut his toenails), he went to the signing of a cooperation memorandum between the Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) and Westinghouse, under which the US energy giant commits to helping extend the life of Bulgaria's Kozloduy Nuclear Plant; appeared in public to bash the right-wing Blue Coalition over the vote buying that allegedly took part during its primary elections for presidential and Sofia mayor candidates, and got a special visit by top model Adriana Karembeu nee Sklenarikova, known for having the longest legs in the world, among others.
And of course, he got showered with gifts - a chess set, a fish in a bowl, a white pigeon, a donation from the GERB Parliamentary group in the amount of BGN 30 000 to be spent on an infrastructure project in his native Bankya.
To top it all - the GERB headquarters presented him with a huge collage entitled "Boyko in Pictures," showing the PM during various moments from his political career – meeting Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Pope Benedict XVI, Jose Manuel Barroso, but also playing sports, campaigning, hugging little kids and an elderly woman, and being with dog.
In the middle, the collage featured a photo of Borisov with the sentence - "The world makes a way for a person who knows where he is going."
Hopefully, our leader also knows where he is taking us, otherwise, in Bulgaria's future, there will be very few people left to drive on the country's brand new highways.
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