joined NATO on March 29, 2004 and signed the Treaty of Accession
on 25 April 2005. It became a full member of the European
Union on 1 January 2007. The country has been a member of
the United Nations since 1955, and is a founding member of
OSCE. As a Consultative Party to the Antarctic Treaty, Bulgaria
takes part in the governing of the territories situated south
of 60° south latitude.
Georgi Parvanov, the President of Bulgaria since 22 January
2002, was re-elected on 29 October 2006 and began his second
term in office in January 2007. Bulgarian presidents are
directly elected for a five-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. He is also the
head of the Consultative Council for National Security and,
while unable to initiate legislation other than Constitutional
amendments, the President can return a bill for further
debate, although the parliament can override the President's
veto by vote of a majority of all MPs.
The Council of Ministers is chaired by the PM (Sergey Stanishev
since 18 August 2005); it is the principal body of the Executive
Branch and presently consists of 20 ministers. The Prime
Minister is usually nominated by the largest parliamentary
group, and is given a mandate by the President to form a
The current governmental coalition is made up of the Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP), National Movement Simeon II (NMS)
and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (representing mainly
the Turkish minority).
|The Parliament in downtown Sofia.
The Bulgarian unicameral parliament, the National Assembly
or Narodno Sabranie , consists of 240 deputies who are elected
for four-year terms by popular vote. The votes are for party
or coalition lists of candidates for each of the 28 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.
The last elections took place on June 2005. The next elections
are planned for summer 2009.
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 organization of the Judiciary.
The Constitutional Court 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. Parliament elects
the twelve members of the Constitutional Court by a two-thirds
majority, the members serve a nine-year term.
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.
|The edifice of the National Assembly
of Bulgaria (center) in central Sofia.
|The President's office