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Introduction: The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its...

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Political Overview: Parliamentary system

Under its July 1991 constitution, Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a parliamentary executive. It has a single chamber, 240-member parliament, the National Assembly, which is elected every five years by universal suffrage. Members are elected through a system of proportional representation, with a four per cent threshold for party representation. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are drawn from the group able to command a majority in the Assembly.

The President, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is popularly elected once every five years for a maximum of two ...

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Historical Highlights: Ancient Thrace was partially located on the territory of modern Bulgaria, and Thracian culture provides a wealth of archeological sites within Bulgaria. In the second century A.D., the Bulgars came to Europe from their old homeland, the Kingdom of Balhara situated in the Mount Imeon area (present Hindu Kush in northern Afghanistan).

The first Bulgarian state was established in ...

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International Relations: Bulgaria is a member of a number of international organisations, including: the Council of Europe (COE), the European Union (EU), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The Bulgarian government has the following foreign policy priorities:

-- Presence of Bulgaria in the core of the European politics. Schengen membership is a top priority this year; Eurozone membership a longer-term aim.

-- Development of the Euro-Atlantic partnerships as a guarantee for peace and global ...

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The history of the land now known as Bulgaria has been determined by its location between Asia and Europe, by its proximity to powerful states competing for land and influence at the junction of trade routes and strategic military positions, and by the strong national territorial drive of various Bulgarian states. Before the Christian era, Greece and Rome conquered the region and left substantial ...

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Area Handbook Series
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