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The Preliminary Treaty of Peace, which ended the Russo-Turkish War and was signed at San Stefano 19 February / 3 March 1878,1 considerably reduced the Ottoman power in Europe. Bulgaria was separated from the Ottoman Empire and constituted into "an autonomous and tributary principality, under the sovereignty of His Majesty the Sultan,” by Article 1 of the Treaty of Berlin of 13 July 1878.” This same treaty imposed on the new State certain conditions relative to the election of the Prince (Article 2) and religious liberty (Article 5). On 10/22 February 1879, the first Bulgarian assembly of notables convened in the principality and the new ('onstitution was promulgated at Tirnovo 16/28 April 1879. It contains 169 articles. Eastern Rumelia revolted against Turkish domination in September 1885 and proclaimed Alexander Prince. The latter accepted the title of Prince of the two Bulgarias of the north and of the south" by a manifesto dated from Tirnovo 20 September.
The Constitution of 1879 was the object of an important revision in 1893. The proposal of the government, adopted by the Ordinary National Assembly on 7/19 December 1892, was submitted to the Grand National Assembly, which was convened at Tirnovo on 3/15 May 1893. On 15/27 May the revision was passed. Thirteen articles of the Constitution were amended : Articles 6, 38, 58, 59, 86, 114, 115, 125, 126, 139, 141, 141 and 161.4
In 1911 the Constitution underwent another revision. The Grand National Assembly was opened at Tirnovo on 9/22 June 1911 and held twenty-two meetings, at the conclusion of which (7/20 July) the project of the Fourteenth Ordinary National Assembly was adopted with some modifications and promulgated four days later. Fourteen articles were amended : Articles 6, 17, 19, 21, 3.), 38, 55, 72, 73, 76, 86, 121, 127 and 161.
1 French text in British and Foreign State Papers, 69 : pp. 732-744 ; English translation in EDWARD HERTSLET, Map of Europe by Treaty, vol. IV (London, 1891), pp. 2672– 2696.
* French text in British and Foreign State Papers, 69: pp. 719-767; English translation in HERTSLET, op. cit., pp. 2759–2799.
* French translation in British and Foreign State Papers, 70: pp. 1303-1318, and An. Augire de législation étrangère, 9 (1879): pp. 774–790.
* French translation in Annuaire de législation étrangère, 23 (1893): pp. 682–681, with the old and new texts in parallel columns.
The electoral law in force bears the date of 23 March / 4 April 1897. It received slight modifications in 1898, 1901, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911 (twice) and 1912. Laws of 16/29 March 1903 and 11/24 April 1910 have prescribed the boundaries of the electoral districts.
CONSTITUTION OF 16/28 APRIL 1879, WITH AMENDMENTS OF
15/27 MAY 1893 AND 11/24 JULY 1911.3
CHAPTER I.—THE TERRITORY OF THE KINGDOM,
ARTICLE 1. The territory of the Kingdom of Bulgaria may not be increased or diminished without the consent of the Grand National Assembly.
ART. 2. The rectification of boundary lines, if this has not been done in inhabited regions, may also be decreed by the Ordinary National Assembly (Article 85).
Art. 3. The territory is divided for administrative purposes into districts, sections (arrondissements) and communes.
A special law shall be drafted for the organization of this administrative division on the principle of autonomy for the communes.
CHAPTER II.—THE POWER OF THE KING AND ITS LIMITATIONS.
Art. 4. The Bulgarian Kingdom is an hereditary constitutional monarchy with national representation.
Art. 5. The King is the supreme representative and head of the State.
ART. 6.4 The King bears the title of His Majesty the King of the Bulgars; the heir to the throne, that of His Royal Highness.
Art. 7. The King of Bulgaria may not, without the consent of the Grand National Assembly, be at the same time the sovereign of another State.
Art. 8. The person of the King is sacred and inviolable.
ART. 9. The legislative power belongs to the King and the national representation.
Art. 10. The King sanctions and promulgates the laws passed by the National Assembly.
1 Published in the Oficial Journal, 30 April/12 May. See analysis in Annuaire de législation étrangère, 27 (1897) : pp. 789-799.
2 These introductory paragraphs are based upon F. R. DARESTE ET P. DARESTE, Les Constitutions modernes (3d edition, Paris, 1910), vol. II, p. 296–298, with additions based upon the Annuaire de législation étrangère.
3 Translated by GEORGE D. GREGORY from the French translation in the British and Foreign State Papers, 107: pp. 615-630. A German translation of the Constitution of 1879 and of the amendments of 1893 is in PAUL POSENER, Die Staatsverfassungen des Erdballs (Charlottenburg, 1909), pp. 16–31 and 31-32 respectively.
* As amended 11/24 July 1911.
Art. 11. The King is the supreme head of all the military forces of the country in time of peace as well as in time of war.
He confers military rank in accordance with the law. Those who enter upon the military career take an oath of fidelity to the King.
ART. 12. The executive power belongs to the King. All the agencies of this power act in his name and under his high supervision.
Art. 13. The judicial power belongs entirely to the authorities an:] persons vested with judicial powers, who act in the name of the King. The relations of the King with the judicial authorities are determined by special regulations.
Art. 14. The King has the right to mitigate and commute punishments in accordance with the rules laid down in the law on criminal procedure.
ART. 15. The King has the right of pardon in criminal cases. The right of amnesty belongs to the King conjointly with the No:tional Assembly.
Art. 16. The rights of the King specified in Articles 14 and 15 do not cover sentences passed upon ministers for violations of the Constitution.
ART. 17.1 The King is the representative of the State in all its relations with foreign countries. The government negotiates and concludes in his name all treaties with foreign countries, which must be sanctioned by the King. The ministers inform the National Assembly thereof as soon as the interests and security of the State permit (Article 92 of the Constitution).
Nevertheless treaties of peace, of commerce, treaties obligating the State finances, those that are in derogation of laws now in existence, treaties relating to the public or civil rights of Bulgarian subjects do not become definitive until they have been voted by the National Assembly.
In no case can the secret stipulations of a treaty nullify the published articles.
Art. 18. Decrees and regulations emanating from the King are executory when countersigned by the respective ministers, who assume entire responsibility therefor.
CHAPTER III.-THE RESIDENCE OF THE KING.
Art. 19.? The King is obliged always to reside in the Kingdom. If he leaves it temporarily, he designates a Regency, which shall be conferred upon the Council of Ministers. The rights and the duties of the Regency shall be determined by a special law. The King communicates his departure and the designation of the Regency to the Council of Ministers, which informs the nation thereof through the official journal.
1 As amended 11/24 July 1911.
ART. 20. The heir to the throne must likewise reside in the King. dom and may not leave it except with the consent of the King. CHAPTER IV.—THE ARMS OF THE KINGDOM, THE SEAL AND THE
ART. 21. The arms of the Bulgarian State consist of a crowned lion of gold on a dark red field. The shield is surmounted by the royal crown.
ART. 22. The seal of the State shall bear the arms of the Kingdom.
ART. 23. The Bulgarian flag is tricolor and consists of the colors white, green and red arranged horizontally.
CHAPTER V.-THE ORDER OF SUCCESSION TO THE THRONE.
ART. 21.1 The Royal dignity is hereditary in a direct line by right of primogeniture in the male descendance of His Majesty the King of the Bulgars, Ferdinand I of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. A special law shall govern the order of succession to the throne.
CHAPTER VI.—THE MAJORITY OF THE KING, THE REGENCY AND
GUARDIANSHIP. Art. 25. The reigning King and the heir to the throne attain their majority at the age of eighteen.
Art. 26. If the King ascends the throne before attaining this age, a l'egency and guardianship are constituted for him until he attains his majority.
Art. 27. The Regency is composed of three regents who are elected by the Grand National Assembly.
Art. 28. The reigning King may also appoint three regents during his lifetime, if the heir to the throne has not attained his majority. But in this case the consent and confirmation of the Grand National Assembly are necessary.
ART. 29. Ministers, the president and members of the Court of Cassation and persons who have filled these offices in an irreproachable manner may be members of the Regency.
ART. 30. Víembers of the Regency on assuming office take an oath f fidelity to the King and the Constitution before the Grand National Assembly. After which they announce to the nation by proclamation that they have undertaken the government of the country within the limits of the royal power and in the name of the King.
Art. 31. As soon as the King has attained his majority and taken oatlı, he assumes the government of the country and advises the nation thereof by a proclamation.
1 As amended 11/24 July 1911.