National Assembly (Bulgaria)

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National Assembly
Народно събрание
Narodnо sабрание
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Leadership
Structure
Seats 240
Political groups
Elections
Last election
5 October 2014
Meeting place
National Assembly, Sofia
Website
http://parliament.bg

The National Assembly (Bulgarian: Народно събрание, Narodno sabranie) is the unicameral parliament and body of the legislative of Bulgaria.

The National Assembly was established in 1879 with the Tarnovo Constitution.

Ordinary National Assembly[edit]

Coat of arms of Bulgaria.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Bulgaria

The National Assembly consists of 240 members elected for a four-year term elected by proportional representation in multi-seat constituencies. Political parties must gather a minimum of 4% of the national vote in order to enter the Assembly. Bulgaria has a multi-party system.

The Assembly is responsible for enactment of laws, approval of the budget, scheduling of presidential elections, selection and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers, declaration of war, concluding peace and deployment of troops outside of Bulgaria, and ratification of international treaties and agreements. It is headed and presided by the Chairperson of the National Assembly of Bulgaria.

The Assembly administers the publication of the State Gazette, Bulgaria's gazette of record.

Procedure[edit]

By the Constitution, the National Assembly is inaugurated by the eldest elected member of Parliament. On the first day of sitting, he or she presides over the election of the Speaker (Chairperson) and two deputies.[1]

Once elected, the Speakers retain their party allegiances, which means that they remain as MPs and are allowed to take part in debates and voting.

121 MPs must be present in order for any session to commence, and 50%+1 of those present must vote "for" any point of order or bill to be approved.

Ministers may be chosen from among the MPs or they may be experts outside Parliament. All MPs picked to be Cabinet ministers lose their MP status, and other members from their party are called up to Parliament to fill the seats they vacate.

Parliament sits Wednesday to Friday, and sessions begin at 9 am. Parliamentary committees sit in the afternoons.

Layout[edit]

The Chamber is made up of 286 seats, all facing the 5-seat speaker's bench in a 26 x 11 arrangement. In front of the Speaker, also facing the chamber, is the pulpit, in front of which is the stenographers' desk.

Parties sit in parliamentary groups, loosely following the rule that the political left sit to the Speaker's left and the political right to his right. Generally, the largest parties choose the left, right or centre wings of the chamber, with smaller blocks accommodating themselves wherever convenient. Individual MPs will sometimes sit entirely outside of their block or stand, and, since compulsory electronic registration was implemented, may even vote from any seat in the house.

To the speaker's right, also facing the chamber, is a section with 17 seats reserved for the Cabinet, any of whom may or may not be present at any time during a parliamentary session. Any of them may, however, be called up by Parliament at any time if needed.[2]

Grand National Assembly[edit]

The fist National Assembly of Bulgaria in Veliko Tarnovo

In addition to the ordinary National Assembly, a Grand National Assembly (Велико народно събрание, Veliko narodno sabranie) may be convened in order for matters of special jurisdiction, such as: 1) Adoption of a new Constitution; 2) Amendment of certain articles of the Constitution, e.g. those related with the basic civil rights; 3) Changes in the territory (gain or loss) of the Republic, etc. Before the World War II the Grand National Assembly was also competent in electing the Regency of the Bulgarian Kingdom if the tzar has not come to age. The First and the Third Grand National Assemblies also elected the first two Bulgarian monarchs after the liberation from the Turkish yoke - Prince (Knjaz) Alexander Battenberg and Prince (Knjaz) Ferdinand Saxe Coburg-Gotha.

As an organ, the Grand National Assembly was introduced with the Tarnovo Constitution of 1879, abolished in 1947 and reintroduced with the 1991 constitution. In different constitutional provisions, it was constituted by a different number of representatives. According to the 1991 Constitution, it consists of 400 deputies (as opposed to 240 in the ordinary one). The 1991 Constitution was adopted by the Seventh Grand National Assembly and was composed of 200 members being elected by proportional representation and the other 200 by majoritarian representation. The Constitution provides that the elections for Grand National Assembly shall be conducted in the same manner as those for the Ordinary National Assembly.

A qualified majority of 2/3 during three voting procedures on separate dates is required for a decision to be made. The Grand National Assembly can also serve as an ordinary National Assembly, taking care of regular legislative activities, in urgent cases only. After it has concluded its work on the matter for which it was elected, the Grand National Assembly is dissolved ex lege and the President of the Republic shall appoint elections for an ordinary National Assembly.

A total of seven Grand National Assemblies have been in operation in Bulgaria, the last one from 10 July 1990 to 12 July 1991 adopting the current constitution.

Building[edit]

Another view from Tsar Osvoboditel.

The National Assembly's main building has been proclaimed a monument of culture for its historic significance. Situated in downtown Sofia, it was designed in Neo-Renaissance style by Konstantin Jovanović, a Serbian-Bulgarian architect who received his education in Vienna and Switzerland and whose other works include the Parliament of Serbia building. It was constructed between 1884 and 1886 by Friederich Wilhelm Gustav Liebe, a young builder from Saxony who was only 22 years old when construction began.[3]The site on which the building is now situated used to be a Turkish cemetery.[4]The building was originally painted in an off-white hue, but since the latter part of the 20th Century has been white. [5]

The building is depicted on the reverse of the Bulgarian 20 leva banknote, issued in 1999 and 2007.[6]

Office house of the National Assembly (Former House of the BCP)

Due to insufficient space in the main building at Parliament Square, some administrative offices of the National Assembly are now housed by the former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party, located at the Largo. There has been a proposal that the entire National Assembly be permanently moved to the old Party house building, with its inner courtyard being converted into an interior space for the plenary chamber.[7]

List of National Assemblies[edit]

Parliament Term Seats
Constituent Assembly February 10, 1879 - April 16, 1879 231
1 Grand National Assembly April 17, 1879 - June 26, 1879 231
1 Ordinary National Assembly October 21, 1879 - November 24, 1879 158
2 Ordinary National Assembly March 23, 1880 - December 18, 1880 172
2 Grand National Assembly January 7, 1881 307
3 Ordinary National Assembly December 10, 1882 - December 25, 1883 47
4 Ordinary National Assembly June 27, 1884 - September 6, 1886 195/286
3 Grand National Assembly October 19, 1886 - August 3, 1887 493
5 Ordinary National Assembly October 15, 1887 - December 17, 1889 285
6 Ordinary National Assembly October 15, 1890 - December 15, 1892 276
4 Grand National Assembly May 3, 1893 - May 17, 1893 577
7 Ordinary National Assembly October 15, 1893 - December 21, 1893 145
8 Ordinary National Assembly October 15, 1894 - February 4, 1896 149
9 Ordinary National Assembly December 1, 1896 - December 19, 1898 159
10 Ordinary National Assembly May 16, 1899 - November 29, 1900 169
11 Ordinary National Assembly February 22, 1901 - December 23, 1901 166
12 Ordinary National Assembly April 22, 1902 - March 31, 1903 188
13 Ordinary National Assembly November 2, 1903 - December 22, 1907 189
14 Ordinary National Assembly June 15, 1908 - February 15, 1911 203
5 Grand National Assembly June 9, 1911 - July 9, 1911 414
15 Ordinary National Assembly October 15, 1911 - July 23, 1913 213
16 Ordinary National Assembly December 19, 1913 - December 31, 1913 204
17 Ordinary National Assembly March 20, 1914 - April 15, 1919 257
18 Ordinary National Assembly October 2, 1919 - February 20, 1920 237
19 Ordinary National Assembly April 15, 1920 - March 11, 1923 232
20 Ordinary National Assembly May 21, 1923 - June 11, 1923 245
21 Ordinary National Assembly December 9, 1923 - April 15, 1927 267
22 Ordinary National Assembly June 19, 1927 - April 18, 1931 275
23 Ordinary National Assembly August 20, 1931 - May 19, 1934 283
24 Ordinary National Assembly May 22, 1938 - April 27, 1939 160
25 Ordinary National Assembly February 24, 1940 - August 23, 1944 160
26 Ordinary National Assembly December 15, 1945 - September 28, 1946 276
6 Grand National Assembly November 7, 1946 - October 21, 1949 465(375)
1 National Assembly January 17, 1950 - November 2, 1953 239
2 National Assembly January 14, 1954 - December 11, 1957 249
3 National Assembly January 13, 1958 - November 4, 1961 254
4 National Assembly March 15, 1962 - December 8, 1965 321
5 National Assembly March 11, 1966 - May 18, 1971 416
6 National Assembly July 7, 1971 - March 9, 1976 400
7 National Assembly June 15, 1976 - April 7, 1981 400
8 National Assembly June 16, 1981 - March 21, 1986 400
9 National Assembly June 17, 1986 - April 3, 1990 400
7 Grand National Assembly July 10, 1990 - October 2, 1991 400
36 National Assembly November 4, 1991 - October 17, 1994 240
37 National Assembly January 12, 1995 - February 13, 1997 240
38 National Assembly May 7, 1997 - April 19, 2001 240
39 National Assembly July 5, 2001 - June 17, 2005 240
40 National Assembly July 11, 2005 - June 25, 2009 240
41 National Assembly July 14, 2009 - March 13, 2013 240
42 National Assembly May 21, 2013 - August 6, 2014 240

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Inaugural Session, 42nd National Assembly, 21 May 2013, parliament.bg. Retrieved Oct 2013
  2. ^ Raykov Cabinet (88th Government) sitting in Parliament (article), 22 May 2013 Retrieved Oct 2013.
  3. ^ Gervas, Stan (2004) [1991]. Five Graves in Dalwallinu. Maylands: Gervas Books. pp. 15–21. ISBN 0-646-06820-2. 
  4. ^ BNT World: "The Unknown Parliament" 5.10.2014
  5. ^ Parliament, turn of the 19/20th century, stara-sofia.com, retrieved Oct 2013.
  6. ^ Bulgarian National Bank. Notes and Coins in Circulation: 20 leva (1999 issue) & 20 leva (2007 issue). – Retrieved on 26 March 2009.
  7. ^ Competition for new Plenary Hall, NI Consult, 2009. Retrieved Oct 2013.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]