Bulgaria Table of Contents
In the years immediately following the Zhivkov regime, the nominal structure of the Bulgarian government remained essentially unchanged. Actual decision making, however, moved from the elite level of the communist leadership to a variety of political figures and institutions.
An important quasigovernmental institution in the early stages of this process was the national round table. Conceived by opposition groups shortly after Zhivkov's fall, the round table format was accepted by the Atanasov government under threat of general strikes. In March 1990, a declaration on the role and status of the national round table, formulated by all major political groups, gave the round table approval rights to all major legislation proposed by the government, prior to formal consideration by the National Assembly. In 1990 round table discussions included key government figures and representatives of all constituent groups of the UDS and other opposition parties and trade unions. This forum was an effective bridge across the chaotic months preceding the first free election. It reached key compromises on election law, major provisions of the new constitution, and economic reforms. Compromise measures were then forwarded to the parliament for ratification. By mid-1990 round table proposals were dominated by the platform of the UDF, for which that forum had become the chief input to government policy. The national round table thus replaced the BCP as the de facto source of legislative initiatives, in the absence of a coalition government representing the major Bulgarian political factions.
In late 1990, President Zhelev convened a Political Consultative Council that was able to unite all major factions behind formation of a coalition government in December 1990. This step ended the threat that chaos would follow the resignation of the Lukanov government (see The Council of Ministers , this ch.). In January 1991, the parties represented in the National Assembly signed a detailed agreement describing political rights, the legislative agenda for 1991, BCP (BSP) responsibility for the mistakes of the Zhivkov regime, property rights, resolution of social conflicts, and ethnic questions. The stated purpose of this agreement was to ease national tensions and provide a proper working atmosphere for the immense reform program envisioned for 1991.
Data as of June 1992