Dictionary of East European History since 1945

By Joseph Held | Go to book overview
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loyalty was not dented when Albania sided with Beijing, and Romania tried to maneuver between the two giant antagonists.


Amnesty International, Bulgaria: Imprisonment of Ethnic Turks ( New York, 1986);-----, Bulgaria: Continued Human Rights Abuses Against Ethnic Turks ( New York, 1987); Aspaturian Vernon, "Eastern Europe in World Perspective," in Teresa Rakowska-Harmstone, ed. Communism in Eastern Europe 2nd ed. ( Bloomington, IN, 1984); Bell John D., Cold War in the Balkans: American Foreign Policy and the Emergence of Communist Bulgaria, 1943-1947 ( Lexington, KY, 1984); Brown J. F., Bulgaria Under Communist Rule ( New York, 1970); Burks R. V., The Dynamics of Communism in Eastern Europe ( Princeton, NJ, 1961); Kostalnick H. L., Turkish Resettlement of Bulgarian Turks, 1950-1953 ( Berkeley, CA., 1957).

Grand National Assembly. Elections for Bulgaria's constitutional parliament, called the Grand National Assembly (Grand Sobranie), were held in October 1946, under communist terror and intimidation. The results were the "election" of 277 communist deputies out of 364 mandates won by the Fatherland Front (the wartime united antifascist alliance) and 101 deputies for the opposition parties. The Grand National Assembly was then declared to be the supreme legislative organ of the Bulgarian People's Democratic state; each deputy represented 30,000 voters.

The assembly met twice each year for a short session each time, rubber stamping decisions made by the Politburo of the Communist party. The assembly elected its own leaders, the judges of the state supreme court, and the prosecutor general. It appointed the ministers (proposed by leaders of the Communist party). It was empowered to amend the constitution. The presidium of the assembly consisted of nineteen members, all Communist party members or fellow travelers. Between sessions, the presidium acted as the executive of the assembly.

In June 1990, a new Grand National Assembly was elected, this time in free elections. Its first task was the enactment of a new constitution. Several parties participated in the elections, including the communists, who renamed their party to that of Socialist party of Bulgaria. The government emerging from the new parliament was led by Andrei Lukanov, a former communist apparatchik. The strongest opposition force that emerged was the Union of Democratic Forces, a grouping of sixteen parties, organizations, and movements. Its chairman was Zhelu Zhelev. This group which emerged in 1988, won 144 seats in the Assembly. The revived Agrarian Union won only sixteen seats. The Movement for Rights and Freedom, a Muslim-Turkish party, won twenty-three seats.

In new elections held in 1991, the Union of Democratic Forces became the strongest party, followed by the Socialist party and the Movement for Rights and Freedom party. The Agrarian Union came in fourth place. The new government was formed by the Union, and its chairman, Filip Dimitrov, became prime minister of Bulgaria.


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Dictionary of East European History since 1945
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