National Assembly President Mihail Mikov opened on April 10, 2014 the exhibition "The Constitutions of Bulgaria - 1879, 1947, 1971, 1991" that brings for the first time together the originals of the four Bulgarian constitutions respectively from 1879, 1947, 1971 and 1991. The exhibition, organized by the State "Archives" Agency, is dedicated to the 135th anniversary of the adoption of Tarnovo Constitution on April 16, 1879. It was presented by the Chairman of the State "Archives" Agency Ivan Komitski.
The National Assembly President stressed that throughout the past 135 years of continuous statehood Bulgaria has always relied on the Constitution, despite vicissitudes of time and political sentiments. The exhibition is result of the joint efforts of the State Archives and the National Assembly, where various exhibits are kept, said Mihail Mikov.
Four are the Bulgarian Constitutions, but two of them - those of 1947 and 1971 are first exhibited for the audiences, said at the opening the speaker of parliament Mihail Mikov. Characteristic of the Constitution adopted in 1971 is the lack of signatures under it because of its adoption by a referendum, he said.
The Chairman of State Agency "Archives" Ivan Komitski noted that the exhibition presents extremely valuable documents that provide for direct contact with modern Bulgarian history. Each of the four constitutions of Bulgaria marks a very important event that has overturned the public and political life, he went on to say. For the Tarnovo Constitution it is the restoration of the Bulgarian state, for the Constitution of 1947 - the creation of a new world order after World War II and the transition from monarchy to republic, for the fundamental law of 1971 – the ideologization of social life and for the one of 1991 - the democratic changes in the country, he added. Thus we could see the history of Bulgarian statehood, said Ivan Komitski.
The exhibition also features the two amendments to the Tarnovo Constitution – the Constitution of the Principality of Bulgaria, adopted by the IVth Grand National Assembly in 1893 and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, adopted by the Vth Grand National Assembly in 1911, as well as four amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria of 1991, adopted respectively in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The exhibition is supplemented by photographs and documents illustrating the work of the drafting and adoption of the four fundamental laws of Bulgaria.
The Tarnovo Constitution established the democratic principles of social and political life that have withstood all the tests of time since then and are equally valid and necessary today. Among them are the popular representation under universal suffrage, political pluralism and freedom of association, separation of powers, parliamentary scrutiny and ministerial responsibility, decentralization in municipal government and freedom of the press, thought and speech.
The amendments to the Tarnovo Constitution, adopted on May 17, 1893 by the IVth Grand National Assembly introduce two new ministries and extend the rights of the Prince in some areas of government. The most important amendment stipulates that if the Prince, or his first heir, belongs to another Christian denomination, they may retain that belief. The Constitution of the Principality of Bulgaria adopted in 1893 reduced the number of MPs and the parliamentary mandate was increased from three to five years. The changes significantly stabilized the country politically.
Following the amendments to the fundamental law, adopted on 9 July 1911 by the Vth Grand National Assembly, the so called Constitution of the Kingdom of Bulgaria or "The Silver Constitution" was published, named so because its cover is made of wrought silver with gilt. The amendments were aimed at expanding the rights of the government and of the head of state who officially received the title of "King of the Bulgarians" as an expression of the desire for national unity. Four new ministries were set up. Article 17 empowers the king and the government to negotiate, including to hold secret negotiations with other countries when this is of national importance. This allowed starting secret negotiations with the Balkan countries as part of Bulgaria’s preparation for the Balkan war.
According to the Constitution, adopted on December 6, 1947 by the VIth Grand National Assembly, all power derives from the people and belongs to the people. The supreme body of state power is the unicameral National Assembly, which embodies the national sovereignty, has the right to amend the Constitution and is the only legislative body entitled to changing the structure of government, to appoint and control its operation.
The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria was adopted on May 16, 1971 by referendum and approved by a solemn sitting of the National Assembly on May 18, 1971. It introduces ideologization of social life and bears the nature of a political agenda rather than a fundamental law. The principle of separation of powers is fully eliminated by texts guaranteeing the governing role of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
On July 12, 1991 the VIIth Grand National Assembly accepts the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. The modern Bulgarian Constitution defines the state structure, the principles of organization and operation of government bodies, the fundamental rights, freedoms and duties of citizens. It stipulates that Bulgaria is a republic with parliamentary government, democratic and social rule of law, where all power derives from the people and the principle of separation of powers is enshrined.
The Bulgarian Constitution defines the National Assembly as a body to perform the most important of all the functions in the implementation of state power – the legislative activity. The laws and decisions adopted by the Parliament are binding for all state bodies, organizations and individuals. The guiding principles of the modern Bulgarian Constitution are also fundamental values in the legislative process of the National Assembly. Some of these are: the primacy of human rights, dignity and security and the obligation to safeguard the national and state integrity of Bulgaria; combining the independence of authorities and institutions with constructive interaction, guaranteed by parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.
The Constitution is the basis for secure European future and successful development of Bulgaria in the interest of the society at large and every individual Bulgarian citizen.
Guests at the presentation of the exhibition "The Constitutions of Bulgaria - 1879, 1947, 1971, 1991" were MPs, historians, journalists and students from the Mathematics School "St. Kliment Ohridski" in Montana.
The event is part of a series of initiatives that under the patronage of the President of Parliament shall be marked "135 Years Modern Bulgarian State".