Bulgaria is due for accession to the European Union in 2007. According to most international reporting mechanisms the country has reached the final stages of democracy, and is ready to proceed with accession. While on many levels, such as economically and politically, Bulgaria may have achieved democracy, on others, for instance, judicial functionality and minority discrimination, the nation has room for improvement. Because democracy cannot simply be defined along one line, be it political, economic, or any others, this research undertakes to apply the transition towards democracy in Bulgaria against the theoretical framework of democracy as defined by Linz and Stepan. This theory examines the five different spheres considered to constitute democracy, political, economic, legal, societal, and bureaucratic. In order to decide whether or not, and by what process, Bulgaria has achieved democracy, this work is divided into six parts; the Linz and Stepan model constitutes five, and the last is a special focus on treatment of minorities. Each of these parts is further divided into subchapters, which, when applicable, have been arranged chronologically, and focus on several different important historical and present periods of Bulgarian transition. In some cases, historical examinations begin during the Second World War, and progress through the communist period, into the major period of transition, 1989-1997, and conclude with the current post transitional state. In each part, as with the general conclusion, analysis will focus on whether or not democratization has been achieved within the given sphere, and by what means transition has taken place.
[...] These include the justice system, the fight against corruption, police co-operation and the fight against organized crime, money-laundering, integrated administrative control system for agriculture (IACS), transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and financial control. IMF statement about the Bulgaria's economy: Bulgaria's successful transition from crisis a decade ago to steady growth has helped the country reach the doorstep of the European Union accession. A policy strategy anchored by the currency board arrangement and supported by prudent fiscal policy, strict incomes policy for state-owned enterprises, tight supervision of the banking sector, and structural reforms has resulted in average real GDP growth of percent since the last Article IV consultation in 2004. [...]
[...] In each part, as with the general conclusion, analysis will focus on whether or not democratization has been achieved within the given sphere, and by what means transition has taken place. In this detailed manner, making use of a theoretical construct, a better understanding of what stage of transition Bulgaria has reached can be achieved. Simplistic blanket statements by EU reports, such as “democratization has been achieved in Bulgaria,” are clearly not enough to understand the complex process of transition, and it is a more in-depth comprehension of this process that this work sets out to achieve. [...]
[...] In November 1987, the Federation of Clubs for Glasnost and Democracy (originally the Discussion Club for Support of Glasnost and Perestroika) was founded by communist intellectuals to promote openness in Bulgarian society. In early 1988, the appearance of the Independent Association for Defense of Human Rights in Bulgaria publicized the repression of the regime. Meanwhile, the fragmented intellectual community had been galvanized by a single issue: environmental degradation. In late 1988 and early 1989, many leaders of independent Bulgarian groups were deported or harassed. [...]
[...] Conclusion The question remains whether or not Bulgaria has finished the consolidation process towards democracy according to the statement of consolidated democracy by Linz and Stepan (1996, pg. 6). Linz and Stepan argue that behaviorally, a democratic regime in a territory is consolidated when no significant national, social, economic, political, or institutional actors spend significant resources attempting to achieve their objectives by creating a non-democratic regime or turning to violence or foreign intervention to secede from the state. They add that attitudinally, a democratic regime is consolidated when a strong majority of public opinion holds the belief that democratic procedures and institutions are the most appropriate way to govern collective life in a society such as theirs and when the support for antisystem alternatives is quite small or more or less isolated from the pro-democratic forces. [...]
[...] Although the country's democratic system stands on a solid foundation and has functioned relatively well during the transition period, the public's trust in its efficiency has decreased significantly. Weak governance in particular has caused a substantial, and increasing, number of people to lose interest in solving their problems via state or civil society. This trend serves only to weaken Bulgaria´s democratic institutions and renders national policy making less meaningful. It also makes anticorruption initiatives nearly impossible to implement. Regarding the Turkish minority, by mid-1991, the UDF had held only one joint demonstration with the MFR (Movement for Rights and Freedom); their failure to reconcile differences was considered a major weakness in the opposition to the majority BSP. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee