Governance system in Bulgaria

Constitutional framework

The National Assembly adopted a new constitution in July 1991 establishing a parliamentary government and promising direct presidential elections, separation of powers, and freedom of conscience, speech, press, and religion. New laws facilitated the return of the properties that had been impounded by the previous communist governments. Other laws aimed at ensuring adherence to EU standards were passed, including those regarding competition, intellectual property rights, foreign investment, and a commercial code.

As per the 1991 constitution, Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic, i.e., the prime minister is chosen by the majority party (or alliance of parties) in the Parliament (National Assembly). The president, who is elected for a fixed five-year term, is the head of state. The president schedules the elections for the National Assembly, promulgates and can veto laws, and serves diplomatic and other functions.

As per the constitution, the country’s governing body, the Council of Ministers, is proposed by the president in consultation with the different groups of the National Assembly and with the candidate for prime minister’s post of the party or alliance with majority. The Council of Ministers, comprising the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and ministers, has the responsibility of coordinating and overseeing the implementation of policies related to both domestic and foreign issues as per the constitution and laws of Bulgaria.

The National Assembly (a unicameral, representative body composed of 240 members) is the legislative branch of the government. It amends and passes laws, levies taxes, ratifies treaties, and has the power to pass a motion of no confidence in the prime minister or the Council of Ministers, thereby causing the resignation of the council. Members of the National Assembly enjoy four-year terms.

Local government

Township councils express state power at the local government level. The members of the township councils enjoy four-year terms and are elected by the inhabitants of the township. Executive power at the local government level lies with the elected mayor of a township. Between the state and township levels of government is the oblast (province government).

Justice

The justice system (court system) consists of the local courts, courts of appeal, the Supreme Administrative Court, military courts, andSupreme Court of Cassation. The constitution provides that specialized courts may also be set up. At the top of the prosecutorial structure is the prosecutor general. The 25 member High Judicial Council appoints judges, investigators, and prosecutors. The members of High Judicial Council are appointed by judicial authoritiesand the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court with 12 justices (each of whom enjoy a nine-year term), has the responsibility of interpreting the constitution and ruling on the legality of measures passed by the National Assembly. The president, the parliament, and the supreme courts each appoint four justices.

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