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Ivan Yordanov Kostov
(Иван Йорданов Костов)


In office
21 May 1997 – 24 July 2001
Preceded by Stefan Sofiyanski
Succeeded by Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha

Born 23 December 1949 (1949-12-23) (age 60)
Sofia, Bulgaria
Political party Union of Democratic Forces,
Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria
Spouse(s) Elena Kostova
Alma mater University of National and World Economy, Sofia University
Profession Economist

Ivan Yordanov Kostov (Bulgarian: Иван Йорданов Костов) (born December 23, 1949 in Sofia) was Prime Minister of Bulgaria from May 1997 to July 2001 and leader of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) between December 1994 and July 2001.

Ivan Kostov graduated in Economics from the Karl Marx Higher Institute of Economics (today's University of National and World Economy) in Sofia in 1974, and later earned a Ph.D. in Mathematical Modeling of Economic Processes from Sofia University. He then worked as an associate professor at Sofia Technical University and entered politics after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the Bulgarian communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov. Kostov became an economic expert for the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), the newly created major anticommunist party, in 1990. His political career began as Member of Parliament in the 7th Grand National Assembly in 1990 (he has been re-elected to Parliament ever since) and he went on to become Bulgaria's Finance Minister in the two consecutive governments of Dimitar Popov (December 1990 – October 1991) and Filip Dimitrov (November 1991 – December 1992).

Kostov was elected chairman of the UDF in 1994. In late 1996 and early 1997, mass protests took place against Bulgarian Socialist Party's government which had led the country to hyperinflation and a complete crisis, and those protests ultimately led to the fall of the current government. UDF won the May 1997 elections, and Kostov became Bulgaria's Prime Minister, his cabinet eventually becoming the country's first post-communist government to serve its full 4-year term. He is credited with turning around his country's fortunes, starting sustainable economic growth, and establishing a path towards Bulgaria's complete integration with the West. Under his government, long-delayed economic reforms were carried out, including privatization of state-owned enterprises was carried on a large scale and the country started long-sought accession talks with the European Union (which Bulgaria joined on January 1, 2007). Additionally, during the war in Kosovo he took some difficult but ultimately beneficial decisions, such as to allow NATO but not Russia to use Bulgaria's airspace, and also not to allow refugees from Kosovo to enter Bulgaria, hence protecting the country.

Some of Kostov's privatization policies were criticized by his opponents from the Bulgarian Socialist Party. Ultimately the UDF lost in the June 2001 election to the newly formed National Movement Simeon II. Kostov resigned as chair of the UDF and eventually left the party to establish, in 2004, a new political force, Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria (DSB).

Current Political Position

After reelection within DSB in July 2007 he remains a leader of the party which proves strong rightist opposition against the governing coalition of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the National Movement Simeon II and the Turkish minority party Movement for Rights and Freedoms. DSB and UDF participated together in the June/July 2009 elections for European and Bulgarian parliament as The Blue Coalition.

External links

Preceded by
Stefan Sofiyanski
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
May 21, 1997 – July 24, 2001
Succeeded by
Simeon Sakskoburggotski
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