ISSN 1586-9733

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Southeast European Politics Online

Will Bulgaria Become Monarchy Again?

Ohio State University

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This article deals with the much debated question of whether post-Communist Bulgaria should restore the monarchy abolished by the 1946 referendum. The prospects for bringing back the monarchy are believed to be negligible, given the existing constitutional hurdles and the population’s pro-republican sentiments. But ex-King Simeon’s triumph in the June 2001 parliamentary election has dramatically changed his standing at home. Any restoration of the monarchy will depend on the perceived success of his coalition government, especially in rebuilding the ailing national economy. It is questionable whether Simeon II will be able to live up to the overoptimistic expectations of Bulgarians who believe that like a Messiah he will save their country from the economic, social, political and institutional turmoil into which it has descended. But with a population distrustful of the politically bankrupt old parties and politicians and despondent enough to grasp at straws, a revival of the monarchy cannot be ruled out.



Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan consider the issue of constitutions and constitutional formulas to be a significant, if neglected, aspect of democratic transitions. They offer a classification of six different possible constitution-making environments, ranging from those that present the most confining conditions for democratization to those that present the least: (1) the retention of a constitution created by a nondemocratic regime with reserve domains and difficult amendment procedures; (2) the retention of a “paper” constitution which has unexpected destabilizing and paralyzing consequences when used under more electorally competitive conditions; (3) the creation by a provisional government of a constitution with some de jure nondemocratic powers; (4) the use of a constitution created under highly constraining circumstances reflecting the de facto power of nondemocratic institutions and forces; (5) the restoration of a previous democratic constitution; (6) free and consensual constitution-making. Accordingly, the least constraining or “optimal” constitutional context is the last one, that is, “free and consensual constitution-making".

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