Profile - US Department of StateGovernment and Political Conditions
The Unicameral National Assembly, or Narodno Sobranie, consists of 240 deputies who are elected for 4-term terms by popular vote of party or coalition lists of candidates for each of the nine 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 2001 parliamentary elections ushered in 63 women deputies, placing Bulgaria first within the region according to the number of women currently serving in parliament. The President of Bulgaria is directly elected for a 5-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. The President is the head of the Consultative Council for National Security and while unable to initiate legislation, the President can return a bill for further debate (Parliament can overturn the President's veto with a simple majority vote). Bulgarian Socialist Party candidate Georgi Purvanov won the November 2001 presidential election and took office January 2002.
The Prime Minister is head of the Council of Ministers, which is the primary component of the executive branch. In addition to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, the Council is composed of ministers who head the various agencies within the government and usually come from the majority/ruling party in parliament.
The Council is responsible for carrying out state policy, managing the state budget and maintaining law and order. The Council must resign if the National Assembly passes a vote of no confidence in the Council or Prime Minister.
The Bulgarian judicial system became an independent branch of the government following passage of the 1991 Constitution. Reform within this branch was initially slow, and in 1994, the National Assembly passed the Judicial Powers Act to further delineate the role of the judiciary. The first, appellate and cassation (highest appellate) courts comprise the three tiers of the judicial system.
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) is composed of 25 members serving 5-year terms. Those who serve on the council are experienced legal professionals and are either appointed by the National Assembly, selected by the judicial system or serve on the SJC as a result of their position in government. The SJC manages the judiciary and is responsible for appointing judges.
The Supreme Court of Administration and Supreme Court of Cassation are the highest courts of appeal and determine the application of all laws. Its judges are appointed for life.
The court that interprets the constitution and constitutionality of laws and treaties is the Constitutional Court. Its 12 justices serve 9-year terms and are selected by the government and other members of the judiciary.
Principal Government Officials
Prime Minister--Simeon Saxe-Coburg
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Labor and Social Policy--Lydia Shouleva
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Economy--Nikolay Vassilev
Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Regional Development and Public Works--Kostadin Paskalev
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Solomon Passy