10. Bulgaria (1908-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (September 22, 1908-December 27, 1919): Bulgaria formally achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire on September 22, 1908. Prince Fernand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha assumed the title of Czar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria. Bulgaria entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) in 1915. Bulgaria agreed to a armistice with the Allied Powers in September 1918. King Ferdinand I abdicated the throne on October 3, 1918, and Prince Boris succeeded to the throne on October 4, 1918. The Communist Party of Bulgaria (CPB) was established in May 1919. Parliamentary elections were held on August 17, 1919, and the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BANU) won 85 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (Sobranje). Alexander Stamboliyski, leader of the BANU, formed a coalition government on October 6, 1919. Bulgaria and the Allied countries signed the Treaty of Neuilly on November 27, 1919, which formally ended Bulgaria’s participation in the First World War.

Crisis Phase (December 28, 1919-February 28, 1927): The Communist Party of Bulgaria (CPB) organized a general strike between December 28, 1919 and January 5, 1920, resulting in a declaration of martial law and the arrest of hundreds of communists. Parliamentary elections were held on March 28, 1920, and the BANU won 110 out of 229 seats in the Sobranje. The CPB won 51 seats in the Sobranje. Bulgaria was admitted to the League of Nations (LON) on December 16, 1920. Parliamentary elections were held in April 1923, and the BANU won 212 out of 229 seats in the Sobranje. The CPB won 16 seats in the Sobranje. Prime Minister Stamboliyski was killed during a rebellion led by members of the Military League (ML) and National Alliance (NA) on June 8-14, 1923. Alexander Zankov, leader of the NA, formed a right-wing government as prime minister on June 10, 1923. The government banned the BANU, and some 3,000 supporters of the BANU were detained. Communists led by Georgi Dimitrov and Vasiliy Petrov rebelled against the government on September 26-28, 1923, resulting in the deaths of some 5,000 individuals. Parliamentary elections were held on November 18, 1923, and NA candidates won 185 out of 247 seats in the Sobranje. The government banned the CPB on April 1, 1924. Todor Alexandrov, a Macedonian leader, was assassinated on August 31, 1924. Some 200 individuals were killed in political assassinations in 1924. King Boris III survived an attempted assassination on April 14, 1925, resulting in the deaths of two individuals. Some 150 individuals were killed in a terrorist bombing of the Sveta Nedelya Cathedral in Sofia on April 16, 1925. The government declared martial law, and detained some 6,000 individuals. Prime Minister Zankov resigned on January 3, 1926, and Andrei Liapchev formed a government on January 4, 1926. Prime Minister Liapchev legalized the communist Bulgarian Worker’s Party (BWP) in February 1927. Some 5,500 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (March 1, 1927-June 23, 1933): Parliamentary elections were held on May 29, 1927. Parliamentary elections were held on June 21, 1931, and the Popular Bloc (PB), which included the Democratic Party (DP), won 150 out of 229 seats in the Sobranje. The Democratic Alliance (DA) won 78 seats in the Sobranje. Alexander Malinov, leader of the DP, formed a government as prime minister on June 29, 1931. Prime Minister Malinov was succeeded by Nikola Mushanov of the DP on October 12, 1931.

Crisis Phase (June 24, 1933-November 9, 1945): The government arrested some one thousand communists and Macedonians on June 24, 1933. Prime Minister Mushanov was deposed in a military rebellion led by Colonel Kimon Georgiev and Colonel Damian Velchev on May 19, 1934. Colonel Georgiev resigned as prime minister on January 22, 1935, and King Boris III appointed General Petko Zlatev as prime minister. King Boris III dismissed Prime Minister Zlatev on April 18, 1935, and appointed Andrei Tochev as prime minister on April 21, 1935. King Boris III issued a manifesto on April 21, 1935, announcing the reestablishment of his authority. On October 2, 1935, the government declared martial law after uncovering a conspiracy to overthrow the government. King Boris III appointed Georgi Kioseivanov as prime minister on November 23, 1935. Parliamentary elections were held in March 1938, and the People’s Constitutional Bloc (PCB) won 60 out of 160 seats in the Sobranje. The Sobranje convened on May 22, 1938. King Boris III announced Bulgaria’s neutrality in the European conflict on September 16, 1939. Parliamentary elections were held between December 1939 and January 1940. King Boris III dismissed Prime Minister Kioseivanov on February 15, 1940, and appointed Bogdan Filov as prime minister. German troops entered Bulgaria on February 12, 1941, and student demonstrations against the German troops began on February 22, 1941. Prime Minister Filov signed the Tripartite Pact with Germany on March 1, 1941, and Bulgarian troops attacked Yugoslavia on April 6, 1941. The government declared martial law on September 20, 1941, and eleven communists were sentenced to death on October 14, 1941. Bulgaria declared war against the US and Britain on December 13, 1941. Eleven communists were sentenced to death on December 15, 1941. Some 14,000 out of 64,000 Bulgarian Jews were killed during the Second World War (King Boris resisted German pressure to deport some 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria proper to concentration camps in eastern Europe). The communist Fatherland Front (FF) was established in opposition to the government in June 1942. King Boris III died in Sofia on August 28, 1943, and six-year old Prince Symeon assumed the throne on August 29, 1943 (a council of regents headed by Prince Kiril, brother of former King Boris, was appointed to rule on behalf of King Symeon II on September 14, 1943). Dobri Bozhilov formed a government as prime minister on September 14, 1943. The Council of Regents dismissed the government of Prime Minister Bozhilov on May 21, 1944, and appointed Ivan Bagrianov as prime minister on June 1, 1944. Prime Minister Bagrianov announced a policy of neutrality on August 17, 1944, but the declaration of neutrality was refused by the Soviet Union on August 30, 1944. Prime Minister Bagrianov resigned on September 1, 1944, and the Council of Regents appointed Konstantin Muraviev as prime minister on September 2, 1944. Violent demonstrations against the government took place in Sofia and other cities on September 4-7, 1944. The Soviet Union declared war against Bulgaria on September 5, 1944, and Soviet troops invaded Bulgaria on September 8, 1944. Communists led by Kimon Georgiev and Damian Velchev overthrew the government of Prime Minister Muraviev on September 9, 1944, and Kimon Georgiev formed a provisional government as prime minister on September 10, 1944. Some 38 individuals, including Prince Kiril, were convicted of treason and sentenced to death on February 1, 1945. Some 2,100 individuals were executed by the government in 1945 (and some 16,500 individuals were executed in 1946).  The government ended martial law on November 9, 1945.  Several thousand individuals, including 14,000 Bulgarian Jews, were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (November 10, 1945-June 4, 1947): Parliamentary elections were held on November 18, 1945, and the FF won some 86 percent of the vote. Opposition political parties had boycotted the parliamentary elections. Britain provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government on December 27, 1945. Prime Minister Georgiev formed a communist-dominated government on March 31, 1946. Britain imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government of Prime Minister Georgiev on April 2, 1946. A majority of Bulgarians voted to abolish the monarchy in a referendum on September 8, 1946, and King Symeon II went into exile in Egypt on September 9, 1946. The Bulgarian Republic was proclaimed on September 15, 1946. Elections for the National Assembly (Sobranje) were held on October 27, 1946, and the FF won 366 out of 465 seats. Georgi Dimitrov formed a government on November 22, 1946.  Britain provided diplomatic assistance (diplomatic recognition) to the government of Prime Minister Dimitrov on February 12, 1947.

Crisis Phase (June 5, 1947-April 17, 1956): Nikola Petkov, leader of the BANU, was arrested on June 6, 1947. The National Assembly dissolved the BANU on August 26, 1947. Nikola Petkov was executed for treason on September 23, 1947. The US and Britain condemned the Bulgarian government for the execution of Nikola Petkov on September 24, 1947. Bulgaria adopted a new constitution and proclaimed the People’s Republic of Bulgaria on December 4, 1947. The Bulgarian National Assembly adopted a new constitution, and proclaimed the People’s Republic of Bulgaria on December 4, 1947. Prime Minister Dimitrov formed a communist-dominated government on December 11, 1947. Soviet troops completed their withdrawal from Bulgaria on December 15, 1947. The Bulgarian Social Democratic Party (BSDP) and the Communist Party (CP) merged to form the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) on August 11, 1948. Local elections were held on May 15, 1949, and theFatherland Front (FF) won 92 percent of the vote. Traicho Kostov, a BCP official, was charged with treason on June 25, 1949, and he was executed by the government on December 16, 1949. Prime Minister Dimitrov died in Moscow on July 2, 1949, and Vassil Koalrov was appointed as prime minister on July 13, 1949. Parliamentary elections were held on December 18, 1949, and the FF won 97 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Kolarov died on January 23, 1950, and Vulko Chervenkov was appointed as prime minister on February 1, 1950. The US imposed diplomatic sanctions (suspension of diplomatic relations) against the government on February 20, 1950, and imposed economic sanctions (freeze of assets, travel ban) against the government on February 24, 1950. Some 92,500 individuals were expelled from the BCP in 1949 and 1950. Prime Minister Chervenkov was elected leader of the BCP on November 11, 1950. Some 160,000 ethnic Turks were deported to emigrate to Turkey between August 16, 1950 and November 8, 1951. Prime Minister Chervenkov was elected president of the FF on May 30, 1952. Some 40,000 Bulgarian Jews were deported to Israel between 1948 and 1954. Todor Zhivkov was elected leader of the BCP on March 3, 1954. Prime Minister Chervenkov was replaced by Anton Yugov on April 17, 1956.  Some 200,000 individuals were displaced during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 18, 1956-October 31, 1984): The US lifted economic sanctions (travel ban) against the government on May 12, 1959. Todor Shivkov was elected prime minister on November 19, 1962. The Soviet Union provided economic assistance to the government between 1964 and 1969. Parliamentary elections were held on February 27, 1966, and the FF won 416 out of 416 seats in the Subranie. The US lifted diplomatic sanctions against the government on November 28, 1966. Some 115,000 ethnic Turks were allowed to emigrate to Turkey between 1968 and 1978. A new constitution was issued on March 30, 1971, and the constitution was approved in a referendum on May 16, 1971. Prime Minister Zhivkov was elected chairman of the State Council (president), and Stanko Todorov was elected chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) by the National Assembly on July 7-8, 1971. Grisha Filipov was elected chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) on June 16, 1981.

Crisis Phase (November 1, 1984-July 14, 1991): The government initiated a campaign of “Bulgarization,” which was intended to force some 800,000 ethnic Turks in the country to change their names to Bulgarian (Slavic) forms, in November 1984. Government troops clashed with ethnic Turks near Momchilgrad in Kurdzhali province in December 1984, resulting in the deaths of 40 ethnic Turks. Government troops and ethnic Turks clashed in the Dobrudja region on February 8, 1985, resulting in the deaths of 20 individuals. Turkey imposed diplomatic sanctions (recall of ambassador) on February 15, 1985, and condemned the Bulgarian government for mistreating ethnic Turks on February 22, 1985. The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) secretary-general condemned the government on April 8, 1985, and the Council of Europe (COE) Parliamentary Assembly condemned the government on September 26, 1985. Some 100 ethnic Turks were killed in political violence between November 1984 and March 1986. Georgi Atanasov was elected chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) by the National Assembly on March 21, 1986.  In 1986, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) established a three-member “contact group” consisting of delegates from Saudi Arabia, Gambia, and Pakistan to investigate the situation of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria.  Parliamentary elections were held on June 8, 1986. Bulgaria and Turkey signed a protocol relating to the ethnic Turks in Bulgaria on February 23, 1988 (but the protocol did not lead to any significant change in Bulgarian policies).  Government troops and ethnic Turks clashed in Kaolinovo and Todor Ikonomovo on May 20-21, 1989, resulting in the deaths of three ethnic Turks. Some 350,000 ethnic Turks fled as refugees between February and August 21, 1989, when Turkey closed its border with Bulgaria. Turkey offered to signed a comprehensive emigration treaty with Bulgaria, but Bulgaria refused to negotiate with Turkey.  The US imposed diplomatic sanctions (recall of ambassador) against the government on August 29, 1989. Some 10,000 individuals demonstrated against the government of President Todor Zhivkov in Sofia beginning on November 3, 1989, and President Zhivkov resigned as president and general secretary of the communist party on November 10, 1989. Petur Mladenov was elected president by the National Assembly on November 17, 1989. Some 50,000 individuals demonstrated in support of democracy in Sofia on December 10, 1989. The government officially ended the ethnic Turkish assimilation policy on December 29, 1989.  The CPB relinquished its “leading role” in the political system on January 15, 1990. Prime Minister Atanasov resigned on February 1, 1990, and Andrei Lukanov was appointed as provisional prime minister on February 3, 1990. The BCP was renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on April 3, 1990. Parliamentary elections were held on June 10 and 17, 1990, and the BSP won 211 out of 400 seats in the National Assembly. The Council of Europe (COE) sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections. Several thousand individuals protested the results of the first round of the elections in Sofia on June 11-13, 1990, claiming that the BSP had used inappropriate tactics during the election campaign. President Mladenov resigned on July 6, 1990, and Zhelyu Zhelev, leader of the Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), was elected president by the National Assembly on August 1, 1990. The National Assembly confirmed the government of Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov on September 21, 1990. Prime Minister Lukanov resigned on November 29, 1990, and Dimitur Popov formed a coalition government as prime minister on December 20, 1990. The parliament legalized private ownership of agricultural land on February 22, 1991. A new constitution was adopted by the National Assembly on July 12, 1991, and the constitution went into effect on July 14, 1991. Some 500 individuals were killed in political violence, and some 350,000 individuals were displaced during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (July 15, 1991-present): Parliamentary elections were held on October 13, 1991, and the UDF won 110 out of 240 seats in the National Assembly. The BSP won 106 seats in the National Assembly. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly (PA) and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) established an election observation mission to monitor the parliamentary elections. The COE Parliamentary Assembly sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections. Filip Dimitrov of the UDF formed a coalition government on November 8, 1991. President Zhelyu Zhelev was re-elected with some 53 percent of the vote in a runoff election on January 19, 1992.  Bulgaria and Turkey signed the “Treaty of Friendship, Good-Neighborliness, Cooperation, and Security” on May 6, 1992, resulting in the normalization of relations between the two countries.  Bulgaria was formally admitted in the COE on May 7, 1992. On October 29, 1992, the government of Prime Minister Dimitrov collapsed following a vote of no-confidence by the National Assembly. Lyuben Berov formed a coalition government on December 30, 1992. Prime Minister Berov resigned on September 2, 1994, and Reneta Indzhova formed an interim government on October 18, 1994. Parliamentary elections were held on December 18, 1994, and the BSP coalition won 125 out of 240 seats in the National Assembly. The OSCE/ODIHR established an election observation mission to monitor the parliamentary elections. Zhan Videnov formed a coalition government on January 26, 1995. The UDF and other opposition political parties formed the United Democratic Forces (Obedineni Demokratichni Sili – ODS) in 1995. Local elections were held on October 29, 1995, and the BSP won 41 percent of the vote. Former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov was shot and killed in Sofia on October 2, 1996. Petar Stoyanov of the UDF was elected president with some 60 percent of the vote in the runoff election on November 3, 1996. The OSCE/ODIHR established an election observation mission consisting of one long-term observer and 25 short-term observers from twelve countries headed by Michael Meadowcroft of Britain to monitor the presidential elections from October 14 to November 4, 1996. Prime Minister Videnov resigned on December 28, 1996. Several thousand individuals demonstrated against the socialist government and in support of early parliamentary elections beginning on January 8, 1997. Petar Stoyanov was inaugurated as president on January 22, 1997. On February 5, 1997, President Stoyanov and political party leaders agreed to hold early parliamentary elections, and President Stoyanov appointed Stefan Sofiyanski as interim prime minister on February 12, 1997. Parliamentary elections were held on April 19, 1997, and the ODS won 137 out of 240 seats in the National Assembly. The BSP won 58 seats in the parliament. The OSCE/ODIHR established an election observation mission consisting of six long-term observers and 91 short-term observers from 25 countries headed by Simon Osborn of Britain to monitor the parliamentary elections beginning on March 10, 1997. The OSCE/ODIHR mission reported that the elections were free and fair on April 21, 1997. The COE Parliamentary Assembly sent five observers headed by Dominique Columberg of Switzerland to monitor the parliamentary elections beginning on April 17, 1997. On May 15, 1997, the COE mission reported that the elections were free and fair. The National Assembly approved the government of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov of the ODS on May 21, 1997. Local election were held on October 16, 1999. The British Helsinki Human Rights Group (BHHRG) sent observers to monitor the local elections. The COE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities (CLRA) sent six observers from five countries headed by Claude Casagrande of France to monitor the local elections on October 14-17, 1999. Parliamentary elections were held on June 17, 2001, and the National Movement Simeon II (NDSV) coalition headed by former King Simeon II (Simeon Saxe-Coburg) won 120 out of 240 seats in the National Assembly. The UDF won 51 seats in the National Assembly.  The COE Parliamentary Assembly sent four observers from four countries to monitor the parliamentary elections on June 15-18, 2001.  The OSCE/ODIHR sent 10 long-term observers and 128 short-term observers headed by Charles Magee of the US to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 19 to June 18, 2001.  Georgi Parvanov of the BSP was elected president with 54 percent of the vote in the runoff election on November 18, 2001.  Georgi Parvanov was inaugurated as president on January 22, 2002.  Parliamentary elections were held on June 25, 2005, and the BSP won 82 out of 240 seats in the National Assembly.  The NDSV won 52 seats in the National Assembly, and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), representing mainly the Turkish minority, won 33 seats in the National Assembly.  Sergey Stanishev of the BSP formed a coalition government with the NDSV and MRF on August 15, 2005.  The OSCE/ODIHR sent an election assessment mission consisting of six individuals for the upcoming presidential election on October 16-22, 2006.

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