Politics of Bulgaria

Politics of Bulgaria take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Minister-Chairman is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. Since 1990 Bulgaria has an unstable party system, wherein nowadays the post-communist social democratic Bulgarian Socialist Party and the personalist liberal National Movement Simeon II are dominant. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The U.S. Freedom House rates the country with a 1 on political rights and with a 2 on civil rights (on a scale of 1 to 7 whereas 1 is the most free). Freedom House considers Bulgaria to be a free country.

Developments since 1990

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) won the first post-communist Assembly elections in 1990 with a small majority. The BSP government formed at that time was brought down by a general strike in late 1990 and replaced by a transitional coalition government. Meanwhile, Zhelyu Zhelev, a communist-era dissident, was elected President by the Assembly in 1990 and later won Bulgaria's first direct presidential elections, in 1992. Zhelev served until early 1997. The country's first fully democratic Assembly elections, in November 1991, ushered in another coalition government, which was led by the pro-reform Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) in partnership with the Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). This coalition collapsed in late 1992, however, and was succeeded by a technocratic team, put forward by the MRF, which governed at the sufferance of the BSP for 2 years. The BSP won pre-term elections in December 1994 and remained in office until February 1997, when a populace alienated by the BSP's failed, corrupt government demanded its resignation and called for new elections. A caretaker cabinet appointed by the President served until pre-term parliamentary elections in April 1997, which yielded a landslide victory for pro-reform forces led by the UDF in the United Democratic Forces coalition.

In 2001, former King Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha returned to power, this time as Prime Minister with his National Movement Simeon II. The last parliamentary elections took place on 25 June 2005.

Bulgaria did not decriminalize homosexuality until 2002, doing so to conform to European Union norms as it pressed for membership. Nevertheless, polls from the end of 2007 showed that 80 percent of Bulgarian respondents expressed a negative view of gays and lesbians, with 53 percent voicing an "extremely negative" view. [ [http://www.gaycitynews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19208146&BRD=2729&PAG=461&dept_id=568864&rfi=6 GayCityNews - E. Europe Still Anti-Gay Bloc ] ]

On July 27, 2005 the Bulgarian Parliament chose Sergey Stanishev of the Bulgarian Socialist Party as the new Prime Minister in a coalition government with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. The vote was 120 against 119. However, the parliament voted against the cabinet's staff by 119 to 117 votes. Finally, on August 15, 2005, the BSP and National Movement Simeon II formed a stable government, along with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. This grand coalition comprises the three largest parties. This coalition will have a large majority in parliament with 169 of the 240 deputies.

Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. [ [http://europa.eu/abc/european_countries/eu_members/bulgaria/index_en.htm Bulgaria ] ]

Main office holders

!align=left|President
Georgi Parvanov
BSP
22 January 2002
-!align=left|Vice President
Angel Marin
BSP
22 January 2002
-!align=left|Prime Minister
Sergey Stanishev
BSP
17 August 2005
-
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ivaylo Kalfin
BSP
17 August 2005
-
Deputy Prime Minister
Meglena Plougchieva [ [http://www.government.bg/cgi-bin/e-cms/vis/vis.pl?s=001&p=0152&n=000022&g= Biographies ] ] ||
-
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Education and Science
Daniel Valchev
NDSV
17 August 2005
-
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Disaster Management Policy
Emel Etem Toshkova
DPS
17 August 2005
-!align=left|Chairperson of the National Assembly
Georgi Pirinski
BSP
11 July 2005
-
Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly
Lyuben Kornezov
BSP
11 July 2005
-
Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly
Kamelia Kasabova
NDSV
11 July 2005
-
Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly
Yunal Lyutfi
DPS
11 July 2005
-!align=left|Chairperson of the Constitutional Court
Rumen Yankov|
8 November 2006

Executive branch

The president of Bulgaria (Georgi Parvanov since 22 January 2002) is directly elected for a 5-year term with the right to one re-election. The president serves as the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces. The President's main duties are to schedule elections and referendums, represent Bulgaria abroad, conclude international treaties, and head the Consultative Council for National Security. The President may return legislation to the National Assembly for further debate--a kind of veto--but the legislation can be passed again by an absolute majority vote.

The Council of Ministers is the principal organ of the executive branch. It is usually formed by the majority party in Parliament, if one exists, or by the largest party in Parliament along with coalition partners. Chaired by the Prime Minister, it is responsible for carrying out state policy, managing the state budget, and maintaining law and order. The Council must resign if the National Assembly passes a vote of no confidence in the Council or the Prime Minister or rejects a vote of confidence.The current governmental coalition is made of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), National Movement Simeon II (NMS), and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (representing mainly the Turkish minority).

The Council of Ministers elected by the National Assembly. The ministers are:
*Sergey Stanishev - Prime Minister
*Ivaylo Kalfin - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
*Daniel Valchev - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science
*Emel Etem Toshkova - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Disaster Management Policy
*Plamen Oresharski - Minister of Finance
*Rumen Petkov - Minister of Interior Affairs
*Veselin Bliznakov - Minister of Defence
*Miglena Tacheva - Minister of Justice
*Nikolay Vassilev - Minister of Public Administration and Administrative Reform
*Petar Dimitrov - Minister of Economy and Energy
*Petar Mutafchiev - Minister of Transport
*Asen Gagauzov - Minister of Regional Development and Public Works
*Dzhevdet Chakarov - Minister of Environment and Water
*Nihat Kabil - Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
*Emilia Maslarova - Minister of Labour and Social Policy
*Radoslav Gaydarski - Minister of Health
*Stefan Danailov - Minister of Culture
*Gergana Grancharova - Minister of European Affairs

In addition:
*Anelia Krushkova - State agency for Tourism
*Vesela Lecheva - State agency for Youth and Sport
*Plamen Vachkov - State agency for Information technology and Communications

Legislative branch

The Bulgarian unicameral parliament, the National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie, consists of 240 deputies who are elected for 4-year-terms by popular vote. The votes are for party or coalition lists of candidates for each of the twenty-eight administrative divisions. A party or coalition must garner a minimum of 4% of the vote in order to enter parliament. Parliament is responsible for enactment of laws, approval of the budget, scheduling of presidential elections, selection and dismissal of the prime minister and other ministers, declaration of war, deployment of troops outside of Bulgaria, and ratification of international treaties and agreements.

Political parties and elections

Judicial branch

The Bulgarian judicial system consists of regional, district and appeal courts, as well as a Supreme Court of Cassation. In addition, there is a Supreme Administrative Court and a system of military courts. The Presidents of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor General are elected by a qualified majority of two-thirds from all the members of the Supreme Judicial Council and are appointed by the President of the Republic. The Supreme Judicial Council is in charge of the self-administration and organisation of the Judiciary.

The Constitutional Court of Bulgaria is in charge of reviewing the constitutionality of laws and statutes brought before it, as well as the compliance of these laws with international treaties that the Government has signed. The 12 members of the Constitutional Court serve a nine-year term. Parliament elects 1/3 of them.

Administrative divisions

The territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is divided into provinces and municipalities. In all Bulgaria has 28 provinces, each headed by a provincial governor appointed by the government. In addition, there are 263 municipalities.

International relations

ACCT, Australia Group, BSEC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU, FAO, G-9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, ITUC, NAM (guest), NATO, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, SECI, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Other data

Political pressure groups and leaders:
*Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB
*Confederation of Labour Podkrepa
*numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

ee also

* List of ministries of Bulgaria
* Bulgaria
* Foreign relations of Bulgaria
* Flag of Bulgaria

References


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