Bulgaria some who refused were killed. There were

Bulgaria
is a country situated on the Balkan penisula in Southeastern Europe. In order
to explain the current political situation of the country, brief history is
going to be helpful. Bulgaria was found in the 7th century, and one century
later it adopted Christianity. From the 14th century to the 19th century for
almost 500 years Bulgaria did not exist as the country and its people were
being oppressed under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Many were forced to
convert from Christianity to Islam, some who refused were killed. There were
cases where families were required to pay “blood tax” which ment
giving one of their male children for the army of the Ottoman empire. Those are
part of the factors that make Bulgaria have historically bad relations with
Turkey. In 1878 part of the Bulgarian territories were freed with the help of
Russia after the Russo-Turkish war. Since then, Bulgaria and Russia began to
establish good connections.

 

            During
the period of 1946-1990, from the influence of Russia, Bulgaria became a
Communist country. The country was known as the “People’s Republic of
Bulgaria” and ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party. In the late 1980s,
an assimilation campaign against ethnic Turks took place. 300,000 Bulgarian
Turks emigrated to Turkey and the ones who remained had to choose a Bulgarian
name from a list of appropriate names. In 1990 the Communist Party voluntarily
gave up its claim on power monopoly and in the same year the first free
elections since 1931 were held. They were won by the Communist Party which had
renamed itself to Bulgarian Socialist Party. In July 1991 Bulgaria officially
became partliamentary republic with directly elected President after the new
Constitution was made. The Prime Minister became accountable for the
legistrature.

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            Similar
to other post-Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, the transition to capitalism
was more difficult for Bulgaria than it was expected. Many of the industries
failed because they were not competitive and massive unemployment followed. The
economic difficulties after Bulgaria privatized its economy and the tide of
corruption let over 1 million Bulgarians, especially qualified professionals to
emigrate in a “brain drain”. ” The political and
economic system after 1989 failed to improve both the living standards and
create economic growth. the average quality of life and economic performance
actually remained lower than in the times of communism well into the early
2000s (decade).102}”

 

            Bulgaria
became a member of NATO in 2004 and joined the European Union in 2006. In
contemporary Bulgaria the government and its leader – the Prime Minister, have
more political influence and significance than the President. Thus, the
parliamentary elections set the short term social and political environment in
the country. The cabinet is chosen by the Prime Minister and approved by the
parliament and can make the most important decisions on how the country is
governed. Thre President is more of an international representation of the
country and  can only make suggestions
and impose vetoes.

 

            The
National Assembly is the parliament and body of the legislative of Bulgaria. It
consists of 240 members elected for four-year terms by proportional
representation. Bulgaria has a multi-party system. The Assembly  engages with several different activities such as
approval of the budgets,
enactment of laws, scheduling of presidential elections, selection and
dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers. Furthermore it is responsible for the
declaration of war, concluding peace and deplyoment of troops outside Bulgaria,
and ratification of international treaties and agreements. It is headed and
presided by the Chairperson of the National Assembly of Bulgaria. The current
parliament seats distributions from 2017 on has the center-right party GERB(
Citizens of European Development of Bulgaria) as the majority with 95 out of
240 seats. The social-democratic party BSP ( Bulgarian Socialist Party) is the
opposition with anti-EU and pro-Russian views.

 

            According
to a report from Transparency International published on January 27, 2016,
Bulgaria is the most corrupt member-state within the European Union. The
conclusion of the report is based on polling of experts from around the globe
on topics such as free press, integrity and independent judiciaries. In 2015,
the European Commision found that Bulgaria’s government had done almost nothing
to resolve its huge amounts of corruption and the organized crime within the
country. A poll was conducted among Bulgarians that shows that 76% of people
believe that the political parties are corrupt while 86% believe that the
judiciary is corrupt. According to the 2016 results of the Corruption
Perceptions Index, Bulgaria is rank 75th out of 176 countries. The lower the
number is, the more percieved corrupion persists in the country. Furthermore, Bulgaria has the lowest
media freedom in the European Union. The main cause for this is that 80% of the
print media distribution is owned and controlled by family members of one
politician.

 

           During
the elections in 2013 an accident happened where 350,000 fake ballots were found
in a printing house. Because the official ballot papers had already been
distributed to polling stations, the newly found stashes appeared to be very
suspicious. The printing plant’s owner happened to be a local politician from
the center-right GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) party,
which ruled Bulgaria under Prime Minister Boyko Borisov until mass protests
forced him and the goverment out of office few months earlier. The owner of the
printing house helf an official license to print ballot papers and claimed that
the ballots seized by the Public Prosecution Office and the National Security
authorities were simply faulty copies. According to media reports the printing
house owner was not only affiliated with GERB, but was also close friend of the
former interior minister and campain manager of the party.

 

            Another
political issue that happened in 2013 was the failed assassination attempt of
the Bulgarian politician Ahmed Dogan which was broadcasted live on TV. Ahmed
Dogan is the leader of Movement for Rights and Freedoms, which is a party
mostly supported by Muslim voters, mainly Turks in Bulgaria. Dogan has led the
party for nearly 25 years and was acquitted of corruption charges at a
high-profile trial in 2011. The person who attacked him with a gun, was an
ethnic Turk, and reportedly left a note at his home addressed to his mother,
saying that his aim is to show Dogan that he is not untouchable. According to
experts, even if the gun hadn’t failed to fire, it would have only caused
non-lethal injuries.

            Other
than political corruption, Bulgaria has issues with organized crime and
corruption of the judicial system that is occuring on all levels including the
Prosecutor’s Office. Since the country became democratic there have been more
than 150 high rank heads mafia-style contract killings, often happening in the
center of the capital, Sofia, in broad daylight. The cost of contract killings
depends on the importance of the person and is estimated to be approximately £5,000-£50,000. A specific example of that can be the case when a
drug dealer was supposed to go to court on a trial for him and more than 20
other individuals involved in trafficking of drugs, people, and multiple
murders. The person was most likely going to confess and expose a mass
organized crime scheme, but as he was entering the Court House he was shot by a
sniper in the leg.

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