Bulgaria is a European country that was under the Soviet Eastern Bloc during the 20th century Cold War. With the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, the country adopted a new constitution that had provisions for democratic elections. Bulgaria practices the parliamentary representative democratic system of government where the president is the head of state while the prime minister is the head of government.
The Constitution of Bulgaria
The Constitution is the supreme law in the country and all other laws are created based on its articles. The current constitution is the country’s fourth constitution and was promulgated on July 12th, 1991 and has since been amended five times. Bulgaria adopted its inaugural constitution in 1879 which was also known as the Tarnovo Constitution and adopted the second constitution known as the Dimitrov Constitution which was promulgated in 1947 and was in force until 1971 when it was replaced by the Zhivkov Constitution. All of the previous constitutions of Bulgaria were socialist based.
According to the Constitution of Bulgaria, the president is the head of state who is democratically elected to serve a five-year term. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Bulgarian armed forces. The primary roles of the president involve foreign relations with the president mandated to be the country’s representative during international meetings and discussions. The president has limited veto power over the legislature where he can return legislation back to parliament to be debated further.
The executive branch of government is involved with the administration of the state policy in Bulgaria as well as maintenance of law and order. The executive is made up of the Council of Minister who are led by the prime minister and are all appointed by the National Assembly. The executive is made up of members of the majority party in Parliament with the prime minister being the leader of the largest party in Parliament. The Council of Ministers can be dissolved through a vote of no confidence from the National Assembly. The prime minister serves a four-year term. While in usual cases ministers head respective ministries, there are special circumstances where some ministers are appointed without a portfolio. Upon being elected to become a minister, an individual loses their position as MP.
The legislative arm of government in Bulgaria is the National Assembly which features a unicameral (single-chambered) parliament. The National Assembly is composed of 240 members who are known as deputies and they are all elected by a popular vote to serve four-year terms. The Constitution indicates the roles of the National Assembly as the approving of the national budget, enacting of legislation, ratifying of international agreements and treaties, appointing and dismissing of the prime minister, and the declaration of war. The speaker is the leader of the National Assembly and is elected from the 240 deputies during the inaugural seating of Parliament. The legislature also features the Grand National Assembly, a special legislative branch which only deals with issues pertaining to special jurisdiction such as the adoption of a new constitution or the altering of the national borders.
The judicial system in Bulgaria features regional courts, district courts as well as an appeal court. The Supreme Judicial Council is the most important organ of the judiciary and is mandated in the organization and administration of the judiciary. The Supreme Judicial Council is also responsible for the selection of the president of the Supreme Court of Cassation who is later appointed by the president.