membership. Party apparatchiki, scientists, cultural figures, and leaders of mass organizations made up the rest. Only thirteen blue-collar workers were included in this elite group. There were no peasants represented. Over 80 percent of the committee's membership had some form of higher education in 1980. The Turkish minority, composing about 10 percent of the country's population, was represented by one member. The Central Committee "elected" the members of the Politburo, which was its executive branch.
The party was organized along hierarchical lines. The party congress, meeting at five-year intervals, "elected" the Central Committee from a single list. The ordinary membership consisted of 41 percent blue-collar workers, 31 percent of white-collar employees, and 23 percent peasants. Five percent of the membership was not accounted for. However, these percentages included party "workers" as blue-collar, making the numbers somewhat suspect. Twenty-seven percent of the members were women. Young people under twenty-four years of age made up only 15 percent of the membership. In 1989, most party members simply quit. Nevertheless, the party survived albeit under a different name. Its reformist leaders contributed to a bloodless transformation of the Bulgarian political system for which they have not yet received sufficient credit.
Bell John D., The Bulgarian Communist Party from Blagoev to Zhivkov ( Stanford, CA, 1986); Fischer-Galati Stephen, The Communist Parties of Eastern Europe ( New York, 1979); Nenoff Dragomir, The Bulgarian Communist Party ( New York, 1951); Oren Nissan, Bulgarian Communism: The Road to Power, 1934-1944 ( New York, 1971); Rothschild Joseph, The Communist Party of Bulgaria: Origins and Development, 1883-1936 ( New York, 1959); Staar Richard, The Communist Regimes of Eastern Europe ( Stanford, CA., 1987).
Constitution of 1971. On March 30, 1971, a draft of a new constitution was published. It was submitted to the Tenth Communist Party Congress in April and then to the National Assembly for final action. On May 16, a referendum was held which produced the usual 99.6 percent approval rate of the new constitution. Two days later, parliament accepted it to be the law of the land.
The constitution declared Bulgaria to be a People's Republic and also a socialist state. It was a "member of the world socialist community" and the "world socialist economic system." It declared Bulgaria's Communist party the leading force in the building of a new society. The document recognized that, besides state, cooperative, and public organizations' property, there existed individually owned private properties in Bulgaria. However, the state owned all means of production. The rights spelled out in the document for citizens were extensive just as they were under the previous constitution (see Dimitrov Constitution), but they were also hedged around with many restrictions. The document mandated education for young people "in the spirit of communism."
The constitution expounded upon the role of the National Assembly. It described