Stefan Nikolov Stambolov was a Bulgarian politician, journalist and poet who served as Prime Minister and regent. He is considered one of the most important and popular "Founders of Modern Bulgaria", is sometimes referred to as "the Bulgarian Bismarck". In 1875 and 1876 he took part in the preparation for the Stara Zagora uprising, as well as the April Uprising. Stambolov was, after Stanko Todorov and Todor Zhivkov, one of the country's longest-serving prime ministers. Criticised for his dictatorial methods, he was among the initiators of economic and cultural progress in Bulgaria during the time of the Balkan Wars. Stambolov was born in Veliko Tarnovo, his father took part in the "Velchova Zavera" plot against Turkish rule in 1835. Stambolov grew up around prominent revolutionists like Hristo Ivanov, the priest Matey Preobrazhenski, Hristo Karaminkov, he began his education in his home town, but studied at the Seminary in Odessa. In 1878 he was for a short period of time a teacher in his home town, he went to Romania.
He joined the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee. After the death of BRCC founder Vassil Levski, Stambolov was chosen as his successor, he was the leader of the unsuccessful uprising in Stara Zagora in 1875 and of the Turnovo revolutionary committee in the great uprising of April 1876. Stambolov was involved in political discussions as early as the time of the first Bulgarian parliament: the "Founding Assembly" of 1879. After 1880 he became the vice-chairman and the chairman of the Narodno Subranie. In 1885, he helped bring about the union of Eastern Rumelia. On 20 August 1886, officers aligned with Russia overthrew Prince Alexander in a coup d'état. Stambolov led a counter-coup on 28 August which removed the Russian-controlled provisional government, he assumed the position of regent. Russian hostility, barred the restoration of Alexander, who abdicated on 8 September. At the age of 32, Stambolov found himself in the unusual position of being a government minister and regent for an absent monarch.
Stambolov's style of governing during his regency was observed as being authoritarian. But this was, to some extent, a reaction to the grave difficulties arising from his peculiar position. Indeed, the regency has been described as marking the beginning of the tragic years of Stambolov's life. According to a close friend, Stambolov was "almost inclined to resign the honours, together with the dangers of his position, retire to his beloved Turnovo." But he stayed on, recognizing that there was no other suitable candidate, that if he did not lead Bulgaria's sovereignty would be lost. Through Stambolov's efforts, a successor to Alexander was found in Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, proclaimed Knyaz of autonomous Bulgaria on 7 July 1887 and crowned on 14 August 1887. With Ferdinand's accession to the throne, Stambolov retired as regent, became Prime Minister, he served for seven years. Stambolov was a nationalist, he confronted Knyaz Ferdinand, blocked his schemes to usurp additional authority. This caused him a lot of stress, he became distant from his friends, suspicious of all around him.
The public came to dislike him, as he took drastic measures against his enemies. He survived an assassination attempt unharmed, but responded by having many people he suspected of taking part imprisoned and treated brutally. By 1894 the prolonged stress from all sides had taken its toll, Stambolov resigned, accepted by Ferdinand. On 15 July 1895, Stambolov took a carriage to his home, along with a friend. Midway, the carriage was stopped by an assassin. Stambolov exited, but was met by three more assassins, armed with knives. Stambolov, who carried a revolver, shot one of the attackers; the others wrestled him to the ground. They knew that Stambolov wore an armoured vest, so they stabbed at his head, which he tried to protect with his hands, his bodyguard chased away the assailants. Stambolov was hurried to his home with mutilated hands, he is supposed to have said on his deathbed, "Bulgaria's people will forgive me everything. But they will not forgive that it was I who brought Ferdinand here." It is believed that Stambolov was well-aware that his days after his resignation were numbered, that Ferdinand was to be the one who would orchestrate an assassination.
He died at about 2.00 a.m. on 18 July. Stambolov believed that the liberation of Bulgaria was an attempt by Czarist Russia to turn Bulgaria into its protectorate, his policy was characterized by the goal of preserving Bulgarian independence at all costs. During his leadership Bulgaria was transformed from an Ottoman province into a modern European state. Stambolov launched a new course in Bulgarian foreign policy, independent of the interests of any great power, his main foreign policy objective was the unification of the Bulgarian nation into a nation-state consisting of all the territories of the Bulgarian Exarchate granted by the Sultan in 1870. Stambolov established close connections with the Sultan in order to enliven Bulgarian national spirit in Macedonia and to oppose Russian-backed Greek and Serbian propaganda; as a result of Stambolov’s tactics, the Sultan recognised Bulgarians as the predominant people in Macedonia and gave a green light to the creation of a strong church and cultural institutions.
Dimitar Nikolov Petkov was a leading member of the Bulgarian People's Liberal Party and the country's Prime Minister from November 5, 1906 until he was assassinated in Sofia the following year. A veteran of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 he fought for the Russian Imperial Army at the Battle of Shipka Pass where he lost an arm during the combat. Petkov spent five years as mayor of Sofia and during his time in charge he undertook an extensive redevelopment of the city. Following the death of Stefan Stambolov in 1895 he took over as leader of People's Liberal Party, a role he held until his own death when Nikola Genadiev succeeded him. Petkov's party took office in 1903 following the resignation of Stoyan Danev but Ferdinand I of Bulgaria chose a non-party Prime Minister, his close friend Racho Petrov, instead of Petkov, he was appointed Prime Minister in November 1906 but held the post for only a few months as he was murdered by an anarchist in Sofia's Boulevard Alexander II on 11 March 1907.
His son Nikola Petkov was a politician in post-war Bulgaria before being put to death in 1947
Movement for Rights and Freedoms
The Movement for Rights and Freedoms is a centrist political party in Bulgaria. It is a member of the Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, is a liberal party, whose main goal are the interests of the Muslims Turks. However, its principal electorate are the Pomaks and the party relies on the biggest share of all the Romani voters 9 out of its 36 deputies are not of Muslim background. At the 2014 parliamentary elections, 3% of Bulgarian voters, 83% of Turkish voters and 44% of Romani voters voted for the movement, a record high share of Romani voters; the party won in Christian Romani villages and thus was alleged for trading with their vote. The party was established in 1990, but the official website of the party traces the roots of the foundation to 1983 when an illegal terrorist group Turkish National Freedom Movement was established, which committed over 50 fire-raisings, bomb attempts and murders on regular citizens until 1989 as a rebellion against the assimilation policies of Todor Zhivkov's communist regime.
After he had been set free out of the jail in 1989, Ahmed Dogan, a former member of the Bulgarian communist secret service, established the party. He headed it from its official establishment on 4 January 1990 until 19 January 2013, when a disgruntled Bulgarian Turk attacked him with a gas pistol. Ahmed Dogan has been recorded promoting changes of the international boundaries in accordance with the ethnic borders, clarifying that there are either peaceful and political means for this or military and aggressive; the ethnic or religious minority parties are not allowed according to Article 11, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution of Bulgaria, but the Constitutional Court denied to ban the party in 1992. On 19 January 2013, Lyutfi Mestan was elected as the second chairman of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Mestan was removed from power by the insistence of the founder Dogan because he had declared support for Turkey for the shot Russian airplane Erdoğan blacklisted Ahmed Dogan banning him from entering Turkey.
Mestan formed his own party, named Democrats for Responsibility and Tolerance. Starting in 1990 as the first political party of the Muslim minority participating in the parliamentary elections, in the first elections in 1990 after the end of the communist regime, which the Muslims had boycotted, the party won 6.0% of the popular vote and 24 out of 400 seats and became the fourth largest party in the parliament. In the parliamentary elections in 1991 it won 7.6% of the vote and remained with 24 seats in а 240-seater parliament. In the elections in 1994 it won 5.4% of the vote and its seats decreased to 15. In the elections in 1997 it won 19 out of 240 seats. From 2001 to 2009, the party was part of the government, first in a coalition with the National Movement Simeon II party and with the Bulgarian Socialist Party; the party had ministers in the Sakskoburggotski Government, Stanishev Government and Oresharski Government. It won in the elections in 21 out of 240 seats. Subsequently, for the first time the party joined a coalition government, led by the winner of the elections.
Under the control of the party were two out of the 17 Bulgarian ministries – the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the Minister without portfolio, the other 15 remained under the control of senior coalition partner NDSV. At the 2005 elections it increased to 12.8% of vote and 34 out of 240 seats and was kept in power as a part of the coalition led by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and National Movement Simeon II party. The ministries under the control of the Movement of Rights and Freedoms increased to three out of 18. At the 2009 elections it increased to 37 out of 240 seats. Following the election, the government was occupied by the decisive winner, the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms was еxcluded from the government and remained in opposition after having been part of coalition governments for the two consecutive preceding terms between 2001 and 2009. At the 2009 European Parliament elections the party won 14.1% of the vote and three MEPs out of Bulgaria's total representation of 18.
Two of the MEPs are ethnic Turks and one is ethnic Bulgarian. In the Bulgarian parliamentary election in 2013, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms decreased to 11.3% of the vote. The DPS won the elections abroad with 41.3% and the most polling stations and voters in a foreign country were in Turkey. The DPS won four MEPs in the 2014 European Parliament elections. On 8 October 1991, ninety-three members of Bulgaria's National Assembly — all of them affiliated with the former Communist Party — asked the constitutional court to declare the DPS unconstitutional citing article 11.4 of the constitution which explicitly bans political parties "formed on ethnic and religious basis". On 21 April 1992, the court rejected the petition and affirmed the constitutionality of the DPS. Though the DPS has been a part of Bulgarian political life since some Bulgarian nationalists the far-right National Union Attack, continue to assert that it is anti-constitutional because it consists of ethnic Turks. However, the statute of the DPS states quite that it "is an independent public and political organization, founded with the purpose of contributing to the
Petar Todorov Gudev was a leading Bulgarian liberal politician, who served as Prime Minister. Gudev was appointed Prime Minister following the assassination of his predecessor Dimitar Petkov, his reign proved brief, running from 16 March 1907 until 28 January 1908, during this time he became notorious for corruption, plundering public funds for his own use
Vice President of Bulgaria
The Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria is a position, established by the Constitution of Bulgaria, the only vice presidential office in the European Union. The vice president is elected in a popular vote, along with the president. Candidates for president and vice president run on their party ticket and are prohibited from serving in any other post upon election. According to the constitution the vice president shall be principal assistant to the president in his/her official duties. In the 1971–1990 period, the Chairmen of the State Council — Todor Zhivkov and Petar Mladenov — were the heads of state of Bulgaria; the First Deputy Chairmen of the State Council were deputy heads of state. The State Council was abolished on April 3, 1990. Below is a list of First Deputy Chairmen of the State Council and Vice-Presidents of the Republic of Bulgaria: Deputy Chairmen of State Council of People's Republic of Bulgaria The following vice presidents were elected by the parliament; the following vice-presidents were elected by the people.
History of Bulgaria Politics of Bulgaria List of First Deputy Chairmen of the State Council of Bulgaria List of heads of state of Bulgaria List of current Vice Presidents List of vice heads of state of Bulgaria by longevity
Dimitar Panayotov Grekov was a leading Bulgarian liberal politician who served as Prime Minister. A native of Bolgrad in Bessarabia, Grekov was educated at a French legal school. Grekov, at the time a Conservative, was a member of the Bulgarian Constitutional Assembly convened in February 1879, a body that formed the basis of the national parliament of the newly independent state. In the 1879 cabinet of Todor Burmov he served as Minister of Justice, the first of an independent Bulgaria. In 1886 prime minister and regent Stefan Stambolov chose Grekov, along with Konstantin Kanchev and Konstantin Stoilov, to travel around Europe in order to find a prince suitable for the throne of Bulgaria; the three man team searched in Belgrade and Vienna and were refused entry into Russia before settling on Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, to whom they offered the crown. Grekov was appointed prime minister on 30 January 1899 and was removed from office on 13 October that same year after a brief and unremarkable tenure
The Tarnovo Constitution was the first constitution of Bulgaria. It was adopted on 16 April 1879 by the Constituent National Assembly held in Veliko Tarnovo as part of the establishment of the Principality of Bulgaria, it remained the fundamental law of Bulgaria after the country was elevated to a kingdom in 1908. Based on the Belgian charter of 1831, the constitution was bourgeois-liberal in character, was considered advanced for its time, it defined the function and competence of the central organs of state authority according to the principle of separation of powers among an executive, a legislative, a judiciary branch. It provided for ministerial responsibility, immunity of the deputies, inviolability of private property; the constitution included a clause that formally established the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as the official religion of the nation, although people of other religions were considered equal to those who followed the official faith. With amendments in 1893 and 1911 that strengthened royal power, the Tarnovo Constitution remained in use until 4 December 1947, when it was replaced by the Dimitrov Constitution.
According to the constitution of 1879, Bulgaria was declared to be a constitutional, hereditary monarchy with a parliament whose members were elected by the people. The monarch bore the title of Prince and not tsar, as it was during the First and the Second Bulgarian Empire, since the treaty of Berlin from 1878 restricted Bulgaria’s independence to a certain degree and made it a de facto vassal state of Turkey; the Prince was supposed to be male and of Orthodox religion, although, in a legal act, an exception to the religious restriction was made when electing Alexander of Battenberg as the first Prince. The Prince had the power to initiate a legislative campaign and to coordinate the activities of the prime minister and the cabinet. Although the ministers were entitled to act as if they were representing the Prince, by signing with their own signature they agreed to take responsibility for what resulted from their actions; the Prince’s signature was required for a bill to become law after it had passed through parliament.
In 1908, when Prince Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg-Gotha proclaimed the independence of Bulgaria, he raised the country to a kingdom and assumed the title "tzar". The Tarnovo Constitution was amended to change the official name of the country to the "Kingdom of Bulgaria" and substituting the word "Prince" with "tzar" wherever it occurred throughout the document. In accordance with its constitution, Bulgaria promulgated equality for all its citizens and, despite being a monarchy, prohibited the promotion of any kind of aristocratic titles. Censorship was prohibited. Article 61, which dealt with slavery and human trafficking, was one of the reasons why the Tarnovo Constitution was considered to be liberal and ahead of its time: The Constitution declared property rights to be sacrosanct and implied that all citizens, except for the monarch and his successor, must pay taxes to the state. All citizens were obliged to serve in the military. All citizens were allowed freedom of association, were free to form political parties or start their own companies.
The Tarnovo Constitution prohibited punishment of a citizen whose case had not been examined by a court. This rule was ignored by the “People’s Tribunal” of 1945, during the Soviet occupation of the country; the tribunal did not hold the statute of а court yet passed on more than 10,000 sentences to people who were seen as a threat by the Bulgarian Communist Party, coming to power at the time. The article prohibiting censorship was suspended in the 1880s by a law enforced by the Russian general Sobolev. Similar regulations were in effect in the late era of Stefan Stambolov's government. In 1881, the Grand National Assembly was manipulated by the principal Alexander I of Battenberg in order to suspend the entire constitution. During the next seven years, the monarch had unlimited power and issued a series of ordinances which were only technically approved by the ministers; this period, which Bulgarian historians refer to as a regime, ended in 1888 when the constitution was restored. The Tarnovo Constitution was temporarily suspended several times more, most notably during the Coup d’état of 1934 led by Kimon Georgiev and the Coup d’état of 1944 organized by the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The Referendum of 1946 led to the transition from a constitutional monarchy to a people’s republic. The referendum took place during the Soviet occupation of the country, was technically illegal since the Tarnovo Constitution did not provide for a change in the type of government; the Tarnovo Constitution was permanently abolished in 1947 when another one, bearing the name of the communist party’s leader Georgi Dimitrov, came into effect. The Dimitrov Constitution was a Communist document that allowed censorship and the establishment of a one-party system while depriving citizens of certain fundamental rights including the right of private property; the text of the Constitution in Bulgarian at the site of the Bulgarian Parliament. Translation of the Constitution into English can be found in Wright, Herbert F. ed. "Bulgaria", The Constitutions of the States at War 1914-1918, Washington: Government Printing Office, pp. 87–104, retrieved 2012-12-24