Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?

Pavlina Nikolova

in The Oxford Handbook of Local and Regional Democracy in Europe

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199562978
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Bulgaria: The Dawn of a New Era of Inclusive Subnational Democracy?

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  • Politics
  • Regional Political Studies
  • Comparative Politics



This article focuses on the state of Bulgaria. In a geographical area where continents, religions, and influences of power meet, Bulgaria has relied on the traditions of centralism and uniformity to reserve itself as a state. These traditions were first carved by the governing elite of the early Bulgarian state, and later reaffirmed by the nation when under territorial repartitions and foreign invasion. As a result, strong regional identities hardly ever existed in Bulgaria. Communism furthered centralized power and insisted that no minorities could be recognized. Even after communism was abolished, the traditions of constitutionalism and centralization continued. In 1991, a new constitution which conforms to the European standards was adopted. It borrowed democratic experiments elsewhere establishing Bulgaria as a parliamentary republic but with a directly elected president and vice-president. The new constitution was controversial because it was passed by a Great National Assembly dominated by former communists. In conformity to the requirements of EU accession, Bulgaria amended the constitution. This 2007 constitutional amendment led to some decentralization of Bulgaria. It allowed subnational governance, subnational finance, and fiscal decentralization.

Keywords: Bulgaria; centralism; centralized power; constitutionalism; centralization; parliamentary republic; decentralization of Bulgaria; subnational governance; subnational finance; fiscal decentralization

Article.  8227 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Regional Political Studies ; Comparative Politics

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