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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 19,859 15,608 13,600 69
GNI per capita
 US $ 2,130 1,790 1,650 106
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Bulgaria


Update No: 129 - (28/02/08)

Reform of political system required
A consensus is emerging in Bulgaria that a reform of its political system is overdue. The present system was cobbled together in a hurry in 1989 when everyone was overcome by the manner that communism collapsed overnight throughout Central Europe and shortly Eastern Europe. 

The parliamentary group of the rightist United Democratic Forces (UDF) coalition invited all parties represented in parliament to consultations on February 7 regarding changes to the electoral laws.

"The political model in the country is seriously flawed and this was evident from the last local elections. That is why we need changes to the electoral system", stated Nadezhda Mihailova, a former leader of the Union of Democratic Forces, which is the leading party in the UDF coalition. She stressed that as early as 2003 the UDF proposed decreasing the number of the MPs (currently 240) and increased majority rule in order to make the deputies more accountable to the voters. 

Bulgaria's President Georgi Purvanov and former leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) presented to the public ideas for electoral reform at a press conference. On January 29 the leadership of the BSP went on to create an experts' group to craft a package of legislative reforms. When asked if the Union of Democratic Forces agrees with President Purvanov's proposal for a mixed electoral system, Mihailova said "Apparently he agrees with us, which is a good thing."

The leader of the rightist Democrats for Strong Bulgaria and former PM in 1997-2001, Ivan Kostov, also declared that the political parties need to debate on the political system in order to reform it. 

Most political parties stated that the ideas for electoral reform are not new, and that they are ready to discuss them. Representatives from all political parties were present at the meeting on February 7.


The European Commission has warned Romania and Bulgaria they must do more to tackle high-level corruption. 
Both countries joined the European Union in 2007 and were threatened with penalties if they failed to reform their justice systems. An interim report says that so far neither has shown convincing results. 

A spokesman said that 10 important corruption cases in Romania had been delayed and some of the cases had been compromised because of procedure. He said that public confidence in the ability to deal with high-level corruption had to be strengthened. 

Last December, Romania's Justice Minister Tudor Chiuariu resigned after eight months in the job because of an investigation for alleged corruption. He denied wrongdoing. 

The European Commission's report sees as positive the work of Romania's National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). 

It says the DNA has requested permission to start criminal investigations into eight serving or former ministers and has begun investigations into appointments of senior prosecutors. 

Organised crime 
Apart from high-level corruption, Bulgaria is told to work harder to tackle organised crime. 

In its last report the commission singled out the problem of contract killings. 

Now it says that from a sample of 10 high-profile cases of organised crime between 2000 and 2007, only one has been completed. But it adds that there does appear to have been a positive trend in recent months. 

Commission spokesman Mark Gray said Bulgaria needed to establish a better track record in investigation, prosecution and judgement of organised crime and corruption. 

Final reports will be issued on both countries later this year, and the EU has the power to impose legal sanctions if it is unhappy with progress. 

Mr Gray described the situation in footballing terms. 

"We've had quite a poor first half, we expect a much better second half. None of us wants to see extra time or penalties and that's why we expect the two governments to improve in the second half."

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