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Bulgaria - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The unicameral National Assembly, or Narodno Subranie, consists of 240 deputies who are elected for 4-year terms through a system of proportional representation in 31 electoral regions. Party or coalition lists, rather than individual candidate names, appear on the ballots. A party or coalition must garner a minimum of 4% of the vote in order to enter parliament. Parliament selects and dismisses government ministers, including the prime minister, exercises control over the government, and sanctions deployment of troops abroad. It is responsible for enactment of laws, approval of the budget, scheduling of presidential elections, declaration of war, and ratification of international treaties and agreements.

A one-month official campaign period precedes general elections. The voting age is 18. Preliminary results are available within hours of poll closings. Seats in parliament are allocated both by vote and by voter turnout. The votes for parties who did not receive a minimum threshold of votes are redistributed to other parties proportionate to their own share of the vote. The lists of newly elected members of parliament are announced 7 days after the elections. The president must convene the new parliament within one month after the elections, and calls upon parties, coalitions, or political groups to nominate a prime minister and form a government. If the three largest parties, coalitions, or political groups fail to nominate a prime minister, the president can dissolve parliament and schedule new elections. In recent years, it has taken approximately a month for the new government to form. A general election in Bulgaria was held June 25, 2005. Results are as follows: Coalition for Bulgaria (CfB) 31.1%, National Movement Simeon II (NMS2) 19.9%, Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF) 12.7%, ATAKA 8.2%, United Democratic Forces (UDF) 7.7%, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) 6.5%, Bulgarian People?s Union (BPU) 5.2%.

The president of Bulgaria 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 is the head of the Consultative Council for National Security and while unable to initiate legislation, the president can return a bill for further debate. Parliament can overturn the president's veto with a simple majority vote. Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate Georgi Purvanov won the November 2001 presidential election and was re-elected in October 2006.

The prime minister is head of the Council of Ministers, which is the primary component of the executive branch. In addition to the prime minister and deputy prime ministers, the Council is composed of ministers who head the various agencies within the government and usually come from the majority/ruling party or from a member party of the ruling coalition in parliament.

The Council 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 prime minister.

The Bulgarian judicial system became an independent branch of the government following passage of the 1991 constitution. Reform within this branch was initially slow. In 1994, the National Assembly passed the Judicial Powers Act to further delineate the role of the judiciary. In 2003, Bulgaria adopted amendments to the constitution, which aimed to improve the effectiveness of the judicial system by limiting magistrates? irremovability and immunity against criminal prosecution.

The first, appellate, and cassation (highest appellate) courts comprise the three tiers of the judicial system.

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is composed of 25 members serving 5-year terms. Those who serve on the council are experienced legal professionals and are either appointed by the National Assembly, selected by the judicial system, or serve on the SJC as a result of their position in government. The SJC manages the judiciary and is responsible for appointing judges.

The Supreme Court of Administration and Supreme Court of Cassation are the highest courts of appeal and determine the application of all laws.

The court that interprets the constitution and constitutionality of laws and treaties is the Constitutional Court. Its 12 justices serve 9-year terms and are selected by the president, the National Assembly and the Supreme Courts.

Principal Government Officials
President--Georgi Purvanov
Prime Minister--Sergei Stanishev
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Foreign Affairs--Ivailo Kalfin
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education--Daniel Vulchev
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Disaster and Accidents--Emel Etem
Minister of Defense--Vesselin Bliznakov
Minister of Economy and Energy--Rumen Ovcharov

Bulgaria maintains an embassy in the United States at 1621 22nd Street, NW, Washington DC 20008 (tel. 202-387-0174; fax: 202-234-7973).

Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Bulgarian Lev Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.

Facts at a Glance
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Bulgarian Lev Exchange Rates

Notes and Commentary
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.

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