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Petër Stefanov Stojanov (Bulgarian: Петър Стефанов Стоянов; born 25 May 1952) is a Bulgarian politician who was President of Bulgaria from 1997 to 2002.[1] 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.

Petër Stoyanov
Петър Стоянов
Flickr - europeanpeoplesparty - EPP Congress Rome 2006 (48) (cropped).jpg
2nd President of Bulgaria
In office
22 January 1997 – 22 January 2002
Prime MinisterZhan Videnov
Stefan Sofiyanski (Acting)
Ivan Kostov
Simeon Sakskoburggotski
Vice PresidentTodor Kavaldzhiev
Preceded byZhelyu Zhelev
Succeeded byGeorgi Parvanov
Personal details
Born (1952-05-25) 25 May 1952 (age 66)
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Political partyUnion of Democratic Forces (1989-1997/2005-present) Independent (1997–2005)
Spouse(s)Antonina Stoyanova (1978–present)
ChildrenStefan (1979–)
Teofana (Fany) (1990–)
Alma materSofia University



Stoyanov was born on 25 May 1952, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.[2] After graduating from secondary school, Stoyanov entered the Saint Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia law faculty where he graduated with honors in 1976.[3] He practiced civil law in Plovdiv through the next fifteen years.[3] Stoyanov also speaks English and German in addition to his mother tongue Bulgarian.[2]

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).[3]

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.[3]


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.[3] 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 immediately suspended his membership in the UDF; the president is not allowed to be a formal member of a political party during his tenure.

In January 1997, protests ensued in response to the worsening economic situation in Bulgaria under the government of Jean Videnov which was also not internationally supported and accepted (especially in the Western countries). President Stoyanov utilized his constitutional authority and appointed a functionary government headed by Prime Minister Stefan Sofianski. Early elections were also called in which a UDF-led coalition won an absolute majority in Parliament.[3]

Elections for president in 2001Edit

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%.

Later political careerEdit

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.[2]


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).[3] His younger brother, Emil Stoyanov, is a former MEP from GERB.[4]

Honours and awardsEdit


  1. ^ "President-Elect of Bulgaria Sets Sights on NATO". New York Times. 20 November 2001. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b c The Honorable Petar Stoyanov Archived 2012-03-19 at the Wayback Machine, AUB
  3. ^ a b c d e f g His Excellency Petar Stoyanov, President Of Bulgaria, American Bar Association
  4. ^ "Bulgarian EPP MEP Surprisingly Quits European Parliament". 16 November 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  5. ^ Slovak republic website, State honours Archived 2016-04-13 at the Wayback Machine : 1st Class received in 1997 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)
  6. ^ "Boletín Oficial del Estado" (PDF) (in Spanish). Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado. 7 October 1999. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  7. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (pdf) (in German). p. 1310. Retrieved November 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "Modtagere af danske dekorationer". (in Danish). Retrieved 5 May 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Zhelyu Zhelev
President of Bulgaria
Succeeded by
Georgi Parvanov