King Simeon II
to become Prime Minister
changes are occurring in Bulgaria since I visited the Bulgarian Academy
of Sciences last year (November 2000), to promote scientific cooperation
and exchange of ideas. Following the amazing popular victory of ex-king
Simeon's NDS party on June 17, 2001, Mr Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (formerly Simeon
II), has accepted his party's unanimous approval of his candidacy for Prime
As in the UK, the role of Prime Minister in Bulgaria is powerful. Committed
to economic reform and in particular raising the average monthly income
from 250 Lev (90 pounds sterling), to 400 Lev within 800 days, the new
PM will have his work cut out with plenty of other problems.
Simeon Borisov Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was born in Bulgaria in
1937 and educated in England and America. He was proclaimed King when he
was six years old, succeeding his father, Boris, who was killed at the
end of world War II. Deposed by the Communists in 1946, he fled to Egypt
before settling in Madrid where he became Chairman for 13 years of the
Spanish subsidiary of Thomson-CSF (Thales SA) and as a business consultant
made many connections in Europe and the Middle-East.
borders onto trouble-spot Macedonia (as well as Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia
and Romania), and has a history of difficult relations with that country.
Membership of the EU must also be a big priority and fulfilling the necessary
conditions will take many years. My impressions were that this country
has a lot going for it; with the new leader and his massive popular support,
maybe this is the turning point.
A special plea from
the world scientific community to King Simeon, "please do something about
the lack of resources, equipment, consumables to keep the equipment running,
and not to forget the empty library shelves, currently staff have to travel
abroad to read the literature (!), and naturally young talented people
that the Country urgently needs have been leaving to further their careers