The largest part of the population is urban. 85%
of Bulgarians are Christian Orthodox, whereas 13%
of the population profess Islam. The Bulgarian ethnic
group represents 5.8% of the population. Other major
ethnic groups are the Turks (9.7%) and Roma (3.4%).
The Bulgarian landscape is highly diverse. The vast
lowlands of the Danube plains dominate the North and
in the south there are highlands and elevated plains.
Along the Black Sea coast there are 130 km of excellent
vast beaches. Bulgaria has a moderate continental
climate with average annual temperatures of 10,5oC.
There is a marked Mediterranean influence in the climate
in the southern parts of the country. Bulgaria is
one of the most ancient states on the European continent.
It was founded in 681. Its rich historic heritage,
coupled with beautiful natural scenery is most conducive
to the development of tourism. The country is famous
for its Tracian Gold Treasure. It also boasts nine
cultural monuments and natural reserves featuring
on the UNESCO list, among which the Rila Monastery,
the Boyana Church, the Madara Horseman, and the Pirin
Besides its Black Sea coast and beautiful mountains
that attract tourists all the year round, Bulgaria
is also famous for its Rose Valley. The rose oil produced
here is a precious ingredient in Bulgarian and world
perfume production. Bulgaria’s main exports
are light industry products, foods and wines, which
are successfully competing on European markets. Bulgaria
is world famous for its folk music. A Bulgarian folk
song was recorded on the Gold Record that was sent
in outer space.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The Constitution
is the supreme law of the country. The latest Constitution
of the Republic of Bulgaria was adopted in July of
1991 and features all basic principles of modern constitutionalism.
It provides for a multi-party parliamentary system
and free elections on the basis of universal suffrage.
The three branches of power in Bulgaria are the legislative,
the executive and the judicial.
The 240-seat National Assembly, or Parliament, is
invested with the legislative power. The Members of
Parliament are directly elected to a 4-year term on
the basis of proportional representation. Parties
and electoral coalitions need 4% of the popular vote
The President serves as Head of State, and is directly
elected once every 5 years for a maximum of two terms.
The Vice President is elected on the same ballot as
The President is also the Commander in Chief of
the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria and appoints
and dismisses the senior command. He appoints the
Prime-Minister designate to form a government, schedules
the elections and sets the date for national referendums,
and countersigns, together with the Prime Minister
or the respective sector minister, decrees for the
promulgation of the adopted laws.
The Council of Ministers (the Government) chaired
by the Prime Minister is the principal body of the
Executive Branch. The Prime-Minister-designate is
nominated by the largest parliamentary group and is
given a mandate by the President to form a cabinet.
The National Assembly elects the proposed Council
of Ministers. The activity of the Council of Ministers
is under the direct control of the National Assembly.
The judiciary is an independent branch of power
and is based on a three-instance procedure.
Economy - overview
Since the 1996-97 crisis, the country has achieved
macro-economic stability and has a stable currency
board, low basic interest rate, and substantial foreign-exchange
reserves. Real economic growth significantly accelerated
from 2.4 percent in 1999 to 5.8 percent in 2000, and
this trend has been confirmed by the latest 2001 data
(4.5 percent in the first quarter.