POWERS OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
The President of the Republic is elected by direct popular vote for five years and in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, embodies the unity of the nation and represents the state in international relations.
The President is an autonomous institution within the system of state authorities. The President’s powers are set out in the Constitution.
The Head of State does not belong to any of the three branches of government - legislative, executive and judicial, but interacts with each of them.
The President has the right to address the nation and the National Assembly. Through them he takes a position as a unifier of the nation.
The President informs the public and Parliament on major issues of the implementation of government within his powers.
Relationship of the President with the National Assembly
The President shall schedule elections for Members of Parliament, to be held two months before the expiry of the four-year term of office of the National Assembly. The President shall convene the first meeting of the newly-elected National Assembly within one month after the holding of parliamentary elections.
The President has the power to convene the National Assembly, as required, if it is not in session.
In addition to elections for a National Assembly, the President shall schedule the elections for members of the European Parliament from Bulgaria and local government authorities in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Election Code.
The President determines the date on which to hold a national referendum if Parliament has voted to hold one. The President can submit a proposal to the National Assembly to hold a national referendum under the terms and procedures for the direct participation of citizens in government and local government.
The President has the right to initiate legislation to amend the Constitution.
The President participates in the legislative process by promulgating laws. The President may, within 15 days of the adoption of a law by the National Assembly, return a bill together with his motives to the National Assembly for further debate, which may not be refused (a suspensive veto). Through the President's veto, new opportunities may be sought to discuss controversial points of a law - compliance with the Constitution, international law, European law, applicable law, or as appropriate. The veto can be overridden if the National Assembly adopts the bill with a majority of more than half of all MPs. In this case, the President shall, within seven days of receipt of the Act, promulgate it in the State Gazette.
The Head of State and the Government
The Head of State participates in the procedure for forming a Government. Following consultations with the parliamentary groups, the President shall appoint the Prime Minister-designate nominated by the party holding the highest number of seats in the National Assembly to form a government. Should the consultations prove successful, the President asks the National Assembly to elect the Prime Minister, who in turn provides the Council of Ministers. Should the Prime Minister-designate fail to form a government within seven days, the President shall entrust this task to a Prime Minister-designate nominated by the second largest parliamentary group. Should the new Prime Minister-designate also fail to form a government within the period established by the preceding paragraph, the President shall entrust the task to a Prime Minister-designate nominated by one of the minor parliamentary groups. Should the consultations prove successful, the President shall ask the National Assembly to elect the Prime Minister-designate. Should no agreement on the formation of a government be reached, the President shall appoint a caretaker government, dissolve the National Assembly and schedule new elections within the period established by the Constitution. The President's act on the dissolution of the National Assembly shall also establish the date of the new general elections. The interim government conducts the domestic and foreign policy of the country and is responsible to the President. It leads current affairs in the country until the election of the Government by the newly elected National Assembly.
Shared competences of the Head of State and the Government
The President may conclude international agreements on behalf of the state, in accordance with the international treaties of the Republic of Bulgaria, after consultation with the Council of Ministers.
The Head of State determines the borders and the centres of the administrative-territorial units at the proposal of the Government under the terms and provisions of the Administrative and Territorial Division of the Republic of Bulgaria Act.
The Constitution confers on the President the power to appoint and dismiss the heads of diplomatic missions and permanent representatives of the state in international organizations at the proposal of the Council of Ministers under the Diplomatic Service Act.
The President accepts the credentials and letters of recall of foreign diplomatic representatives in the country. This power is within the exclusive competence of the President.
The Constitution assigns the President the awarding of orders and medals. The conditions and procedures for awarding state awards - orders and medals to Bulgarian and foreign nationals -are described in the Orders and Medals of the Republic of Bulgaria Act. Orders given by the President to Bulgarian and foreign citizens include the Stara Planina, St. Cyril and Methodius, Public Service, Military Service, Madara Horseman and For Bravery. The President awards Bulgarian citizens the For Merit medal. Suggestions for awarding orders and medals are made by the National Assembly or the Council of Ministers, on a reasoned proposal by the relevant ministers, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the universities, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the trade unions, associations and other non-profit organizations, and nomination committees of citizens.
The Constitution gives the President the power to forgive bad debts to the state. Under current legislation, state debts are those financial obligations that citizens and legal persons are obliged to pay in favour of the state budget. The waiver applies to debtors who for some reason are subject to a failure to pay, do not have assets exceeding the statutory inaccessible minimum, their incomes are below the social minimum, poor health, and others. In exercising this discretion, the President is assisted by a special commission.
The President names objects of national significance, including beyond the geographical borders of Bulgaria and cities.
Defence and National Security
The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Republic of Bulgaria in peace and in war. He appoints and dismisses the higher command of the Armed Forces and shall bestow all higher military ranks on a proposal by the Council of Ministers.
The Commander-in-Chief, on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers and in accordance with Defence and Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria Act, approves strategic plans of the armed forces, bringing the armed forces or part of them to a higher level of combat and operational readiness; announces total or partial mobilization; appoints and dismisses the high command of the armed forces and honours officers with higher military ranks on a proposal by the Council of Ministers. The President of the Republic may request from the Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence and other government bodies, complete information necessary to carry out the functions of the Commander-in-Chief.
In the event of conflict or war, the President of the Republic has specific powers used to ensure national security and territorial integrity of the state. He declares a state of war in the event of an armed attack against the country or the need for urgent implementation of international obligations, war or other public emergency, when the National Assembly is not in session. In these cases, Parliament must be convened immediately to endorse the decision. The Head of State co-ordinates foreign policy efforts regarding participation in international organizations and security structures to end the armed conflict or war. He heads the Supreme Command, issues regulations for the preparation of the country and the armed forces for war and warfare, enforces wartime plans proposed by the Council of Ministers, introduces a restrictive regime on information relating to national defence, and submit a proposal to the National Assembly to conclude peace.
Under the Constitution, the President presides over the Consultative National Security Council, whose status is determined by law. The composition and procedures of the Council are in accordance with the Consultative National Security Council Act. The Council is an advisory body on national security and discusses issues related to internal and external policies of the country in relation to national security, ensuring civil peace, public order, the rights and interests of Bulgarian citizens and actions to prevent breaches of, or a risk to, national security. The Council of Ministers maintains national order and security.
Interaction of the President with the judiciary and the Constitutional Court
The country's Constitution provides for judges, prosecutors and investigators to be appointed, promoted, demoted, transferred and removed from office by the Supreme Judicial Council. An exception is provided for “the top three of the judiciary”. The President of the Republic shall appoint and dismiss the chairmen of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor-General, on the proposal of the Supreme Judicial Council.
The President participates in the formation of the Constitutional Court and appoints four of its members. The President may request the Constitutional Court to give binding interpretations of the Constitution, to rule on applications about the constitutionality of laws and other acts of the National Assembly, to resolve conflicts of jurisdiction between the National Assembly, the President and the Council of Ministers and between local authorities and central executive bodies, to rule – prior to their ratification – on whether treaties signed by the Republic of Bulgaria are in conformity with the Constitution, and compliance of laws with the universally recognized norms of international law and the international treaties to which Bulgaria is a party, to rule on disputes over the constitutionality of political parties and associations, and challenges to the legality of the election of MP.
Participating in the constituting of public bodies
The Constitution provides that the President of the Republic participates in the constituting of public authorities when provided by law. Under current law, the President shall appoint two members of the Council for Electronic Media, a representative of the National Council on Narcotic Drugs, three members of the Management Board of the Bulgarian National Bank, four members of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, a member of the Communications Regulation Commission, the Chairman of the State Agency for National Security, Director of the National Intelligence Service, the Chief of the National Security Service and the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Interior on the proposal of the Council of Ministers.
In pursuance of his powers, the President shall issue decrees, addresses and messages
Decrees connected to the exercise of powers where competence is shared with the Government shall be countersigned by the Prime Minister or the relevant minister.
Acts of the Head of State, by which he: appoints a caretaker government, appoints a Prime Minister, dissolves the National Assembly; returns a bill to the National Assembly for further debate, decrees the organization and manner of the Office of the Presidency and appoints staff, writs of election and referendum, promulgated laws listed non-exhaustively in Art. 102, para. 3 of the Constitution, shall not require countersigning.
In his activities, the President is assisted by a Vice President.
The Vice President is elected directly by the people on the same ticket as the President and can exercise a limited range of constitutional powers expressly devolved by the President by decree (Article 104 of the Constitution). The powers that may be delegated to the Vice President are those in art. 98 items Item 7, 9, 10 and 11 of the Constitution (appointment and dismissal of civil servants by law; giving and restoration of Bulgarian citizenship and withdrawal and revocation thereof; asylum; granting parole).
By Decree 9 of 22 January 2022, pursuant to Art. 104 of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, President Rumen Radev has appointed the Vice President to exercise the powers of the President under Art. 98, section 9, section 10 and section 11 of the Constitution. The Vice President is responsible for exercising the powers of the President in art. 98, paragraph 7 of the Constitution regarding the Bulgarians living outside the Republic of Bulgaria Act - to appoint and dismiss members of the National Council of Bulgarians living outside the Republic of Bulgaria.
The Vice President grants and restores citizenship and withdraws and revokes it. Procedures, terms and conditions under which this task is performed are detailed in the Bulgarian Citizenship Act. The Vice President shall be assisted in these activities by a specialized committee in an advisory capacity.
The President has conferred on the Vice President the power to grant parole. The act of pardon can reduce all or part of the penalty imposed including the death penalty, life imprisonment without parole and life imprisonment - to reduce or replace (Article 74 of the Criminal Code). The granting of parole results in the reduction of all or part of the sentence imposed on the person without deleting the criminal nature of the act. Pardon is exercised for compassionate motives, and in exceptional cases.
The Vice-President may grant asylum. Under the terms and provisions of the Asylum and Refugees Act, special protection is provided to foreigners within the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria persecuted for their beliefs or activities in defence of internationally recognized rights and freedoms.