Country Listing

Bulgaria Table of Contents



Government: Strong central government, with system of nine provinces (consolidated in 1987 from 28 districts), run by people's councils with limited autonomy and authority over local services, publicly owned enterprises, and administration. After ouster of Todor Zhivkov in 1989, communist party retained control of government but titles of head of state and party chief were separated. First noncommunist government elected 1991. Since 1990, president was head of state, prime minister was chief executive and head of fourteen-member Council of Ministers (cabinet). Unicameral legislature (National Assembly, Narodno subranie) with 400 delegates; election law simplified in 1991 for direct representation by district. Legislative decision making slowed by distribution of seats between Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) and Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP; formerly Bulgarian Communist Party, BCP).

Politics: Until 1989, BCP had complete control in oneparty system with only nominal opposition. Opposition parties legalized after Zhivkov ouster in 1989. In 1990 BCP/BSP lost control of Council of Ministers when internal splits and strong opposition forced resignation of its last government, replaced by caretaker coalition government representing major parties. UDF, coalition of over twenty parties and movements, assumed leading role in 1991; with Movement for Rights and Freedoms, it formed working legislative majority after 1991 election and controlled Council of Ministers. Numerous smaller parties, notably Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, remained active.

Foreign Relations: After collapse of Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact and Comecon in 1991, sought acceptance into European community and improved relations with Balkan neighbors. In absence of Warsaw Pact protection, national security sought through detente with former enemy Turkey and Western support. International image improved by major reform in diplomatic corps in 1991.

International Agreements and Memberships: Member of United Nations and most of its specialized agencies. Also member of International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

Data as of June 1992