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Bulgaria is a country located in southeastern Europe. It is Europe’s fourteenth largest country with a terrain of about 110,994 square kilometers, equivalent to 42,855 square miles.
One major fact about the country is that it is a parliamentary state. Politics and elections are the foundation of the government of Bulgaria.
This section will discuss policies, voting behavior, international relations, partisanship, gender and ethnicity, and Bulgaria’s aim of becoming a modern democratic country.
Parliament and Elections
Politics happen in a framework of a parliamentary representative self-ruled republic. This is a system where the prime minister heads the government, and the president is the chief of state. The parliament is solely responsible for the dismissal and appointment of government ministers, including the prime minister.
Other responsibilities of parliament
includes controlling the government, approving the budget, sanctioning the deployment of troops abroad, enacting state laws and scheduling presidential elections. The parliament also ratifies international agreements and treaties and endorses declaration of war.
A one-month official campaign phase precedes major elections.
According to the laws, legal voting age is 18. Preface results are also obtained within hours prior to closing all the poll stations. To enter parliament, a coalition or a party should win a minimum of 4% of the national vote. The named percentage represents how the parliament sitting will arranged upon completion of the vote count. The lists of newly selected members are later announced seven days after the elections. It is at this point when the president intervenes and convenes the new parliament within a month after state elections. He is also required to call upon all parties and coalitions to propose a prime minister and then form a government. However, if the three biggest parties fail to propose a prime minister, the president has the right to dissolve parliament and call for a fresh new election.
In Bulgaria, the president serves as the Head of state. He is directly chosen once in every five years for a limit of two terms only. (to date, there has not yet been a female president.) His (or her) main duties are to represent the country abroad and conclude all international treaties and to schedule referenda and elections. The president also has the right to return a bill for more debate, if unable to initiate legislation. The president is also the commander in chief of the armed forces.
History of Elections
The first presidential elections to be held in Bulgaria took place in the year 1992. Zhelev won the seat during the time where he served the country till the year 1997. Second in place was Petar Stoyanov, a member of UDF or Union of Democratic Forces, who took the chair until the year 2001. He was later overthrown by his rival, Georgi Parvanov. Parvanov served until the year 2012; turning out to be the only leader to be reelected in the country. The current president in Bulgaria is Rosen Plevneliev.
The prime minister, in the government of Bulgaria, heads the Council of Ministers.
This is the basic part of the executive branch in the parliamentary set up. Besides the prime minister and his deputies, the Council comprises various other ministers who head certain agencies in the government. The Council is also responsible for managing the country’s budget, performing state policy, and upholding law and order. Nevertheless, if the National Assembly happens to pass a vote of no confidence towards the prime minister or the Council as whole, due to poor services or performance, the Council is then expected to resign.
The Bulgarian judicial branch system comprises district, regional and appeal courts. It also consists of the Supreme Court of Cassation and a Specialized Criminal Court.
Additionally, you will find military courts and administrative courts in the judicial system too. Military courts handle all cases that involve military and Ministry of interior personnel. The Administrative courts concentrate in reviewing government acts appeals. These courts have been effective since March in the year 2007.
The Supreme Court of Cassation and Supreme Administrative Court are the top courts of appeal. They are the main systems that determine all laws application.
SJC or The Supreme Judicial Council
is made up of twenty five members who serve a 5-year term. Individuals who serve in this council are highly experienced legal professionals. They are either hired by the National Assembly, chosen by the judicial system or serve their positions as an outcome of their place in government. The Supreme Judicial Council appoints judges and manages the entire judicially too. In the year 2007, parliament modified the Judicial System Act whereby it was made complaint with the newest constitutional amendments. These amendments included the introduction of an Inspectorate with the SJC. The Inspectorate was a standing body that constituted 11 members. These members had the mandate to investigate all complaints of a magistrate’s misconduct and pass their judgment. Nonetheless, they had no right to rule on the judicial acts substance.
Separate from the rest of the judiciary, is the Constitutional Court. Its main responsibilities are to interpret the constitution and laws constitutionality and treaties. It has 12 justices that serve 9-year terms. All these are chosen by the president, Supreme Court and the National Assembly.
Municipalities and Provinces
The Republic of Bulgaria is partitioned into municipalities and provinces. It has 28 provinces, headed by a governor who is selected by the government.
Additionally, there are 263 municipalities.
Last but not least, Bulgaria is also a participant in foreign relations. The country is a member of the European Union, United Nations and The North Treaty Organization. The country has also, at one particular time, served as Chair-in-Office of the OSCE, or the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, in the year 2004.
Generally, the government’s relationship with its neighbors has been good. It has proven to be a productive force in the entire region and has also played a major role in endorsing regional safety. In addition, the government of Bulgaria headed the office of the South-East European Cooperation Process, as a way of pursuing its project as a partner in the South-East European area cooperation. Due to all this engagement, Bulgaria has achieved the consent and partnership of many countries in the world.