President of Bulgaria

Last updated
President of Bulgaria
Президент на България
Coat of arms of Bulgaria.svg
Rumen Radev official portrait (cropped).jpg
Rumen Radev
since 22 January 2017
Style His Excellency
Residence Largo, Sofia (office), Boyana  [ bg ] (residential)
Appointer Popular vote
Term length Five years, renewable once
Inaugural holder Petar Mladenov
as Chairman (President) of the Republic
Zhelyu Zhelev
Formation3 April 1990
Deputy Vice President
Salary11 044 leva per month [1]

The president of the Republic of Bulgaria is the head of state of Bulgaria and the commander-in-chief of the Bulgarian Army. The official residence of the president is at Boyana Residence, Sofia. After the completion of the second round of voting, candidate Rumen Radev was elected President of Bulgaria on 13 November 2016.


In Bulgaria, the president's role is primarily as a symbolic figure, with the main function being to be the 'arbitrator' of disputes between Bulgaria's different institutions. They are not considered head of government or part of the nation's executive power. However, in the absence of a prime minister, presidents are in charge of appointing an interim administration, giving them considerable influence over the government during such periods (Zhelyu Zhelev in 1994-95; Petar Stoyanov in 1997; Rosen Plevneliev in 2013 and 2014; and Rumen Radev in 2017, 2021, and since 2022). The president is elected for a five-year term, which is renewable only once. After an individual has served two terms as president, that individual will forever be barred from being elected to the presidency again under the rules set out by Bulgaria's Constitution. [2] The president addresses the nation on national television annually on New Year's Eve, just moments before the start of the new year. [3]


Eligibility for election

For a Bulgarian citizen to be able to run for the office of President of Bulgaria, they must fulfil the following conditions: [2]

Electoral system

The president is elected directly by the Bulgarian people in a two-round majoritarian election. If a candidate manages to obtain more than 50% of the vote and the voter turnout was at least 50% in the first round, that candidate is elected. If no candidate manages to obtain more than 50% of the vote or the voter turnout was lower than 50% in the first round, then the two top-performing candidates face off in a second round with first-past-the-post voting, with the candidate receiving the larger number of votes considered elected. [lower-alpha 1] [2]


The president is banned from also being a member of the National Assembly, as well taking on any other government, public or private offices for the duration of his term. The president is also constitutionally forbidden from being involved in a leadership position of a political party while in office. [2] In practice, despite the fact that most candidates for president are elected from a political party's list [4] and despite the fact that the Constitution doesn't forbid the president from being an ordinary member of a political party, it is widely expected in Bulgarian society that the president-elect renounce all affiliations with political parties once elected and serve as an independent politician. [5] [6] [7]

Powers and privileges

The president of Bulgaria has a number of functions and powers that are regulated in Chapter 4 of the 1991 Constitution of Bulgaria. The president is elected directly by a popular vote for a period of five years which is renewable.

Presidential powers

The following powers belong to the president of Bulgaria: [2]


The president enjoys blanket legal immunity during his tenure and is not held responsible for any act performed while on duty, with the exception of treason or violation of the Bulgarian constitution. His authority may only be stripped via impeachment and may not be removed by any other institution. The president cannot be detained and may not be prosecuted. [2]

Vice president

The president is assisted in these duties by the vice president of Bulgaria. The vice president replaces the president in case of absence. Only upon early termination of office of the vice president will assume the duties of president until elections are held. The Constitution permits the president to delegate to the vice president the powers to appoint and dismiss certain officials, issue pardons and amnesty, provide citizenship and refugee status, but does not allow the president to delegate any of his other powers., enjoys the same privileges of immunity as the president and can only be dismissed from his office under the same procedures as those regarding the president. [2]

Termination of office

According to the constitution, the mandate of the president is completed if and when: [2]


Impeachment can only begin if the president has committed treason or has violated the Constitution of Bulgaria. Impeachment starts after at least a quarter of the members of the National Assembly deposit an accusatory act before the assembly. The act must then be approved by a supermajority of 2/3 of all elected representatives in order to be accepted. If accepted, the case is referred to the Constitutional Court of Bulgaria, which must decide within a one-month time span whether or not the president is guilty of the crime he has been accused of by the Assembly. If the constitutional court finds that the president has committed treason or violated the constitution, as per the accusatory act, then the president is considered successfully impeached and is stripped of his authority. [2]

Bulgarian presidential line of succession

Latest election

CandidateRunning matePartyFirst roundSecond round
Rumen Radev Iliana Iotova Independent (BSPzB, PP, ITN, IBG-NI)1,322,38549.421,539,65066.72
Anastas Gerdzhikov Nevyana Miteva Independent (GERBSDS)610,86222.83733,79131.80
Mustafa Karadayi Iskra Mihaylova Movement for Rights and Freedoms 309,68111.57
Kostadin Kostadinov Elena Guncheva Revival 104,8323.92
Lozan Panov Maria Kasimova Independent (Democratic Bulgaria)98,4883.68
Luna YordanovaIglena IlievaIndependent21,7330.81
Volen Siderov Magdalena Tasheva Attack 14,7920.55
Svetoslav Vitkov Veselin Belokonski People's Voice 13,9720.52
Milen Mihov Mariya Tsvetkova IMRO – Bulgarian National Movement 13,3760.50
Rosen MilenovIvan IvanovIndependent12,6440.47
Goran BlagoevIvelina Georgieva Republicans for Bulgaria 12,3230.46
Veselin Mareshki Polina Tsankova Volya Movement 10,5360.39
Valeri Simeonov Tsvetan Manchev Patriotic Front 8,5680.32
Nikolay Malinov Svetlana Koseva Russophiles for the Revival of the Fatherland 8,2130.31
Tsveta KirilovaGeorgi TutanovIndependent7,7060.29
Aleksandar Tomov Lachezar Avramov Bulgarian Social Democratic PartyEuroLeft 7,2350.27
Boyan Rasate Elena Vatashka Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy 6,7980.25
Marina MalchevaSavina LukanovaIndependent6,3150.24
Zhelyo ZhelevKalin Krulev Society for a New Bulgaria 6,1540.23
Blagoy PetrevskiSevina Hadjiyska Bulgarian Union for Direct Democracy 5,5180.21
Yolo DenevMario FilevIndependent5,3940.20
Maria Koleva Gancho Popov Pravoto 4,6660.17
Georgi Georgiev-Goti Stoyan Tsvetkov Bulgarian National Unification 2,9580.11
None of the above60,7862.2734,1691.48
Valid votes2,675,93599.652,307,61099.83
Invalid/blank votes9,4870.353,9090.17
Total votes2,685,422100.002,311,519100.00
Registered voters/turnout6,949,93838.646,868,73733.65
Source: Electoral Commission of Bulgaria (first round), Electoral Commission of Bulgaria (second round)

See also

The Bulgarian President's Office 20140614 Sofia 117.jpg
The Bulgarian President's Office


  1. Bulgarian election law permits voters to vote against all candidates. In reality, this has no effect, as those votes aren't counted during the tally and as such would not affect the outcome of the election.
  2. Revocation of citizenship can only be done to citizens who acquired their citizenship through the process of naturalization and not to native-born Bulgarians. It can only be applied after the citizen in question has been convicted of a serious crime and even then cannot be performed if the revocation would cause the person to enter into statelessness (i.e. has no other citizenship).
  3. In practice this power is very weak, as after a veto the bill is sent back to the assembly for another vote, in which the veto can be overruled by a simple majority. If the veto is overruled, the President is constitutionally obliged to sign the bill into law.

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  1. "Bulgaria hikes pay for MPs, Prime Minister and President". 14 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria". Chapter 4. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  3. "Трите символа на телевизионната Нова година - приветствие, часовник и Дунавско". Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  4. Тотева, публикувана от Паолина (2016-08-26). "Коларова: Никой президент не е напълно независим". Flashnews (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  5. "Надпартиен президент? То е като коледното намаление". Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  6. "България има нужда от надпартиен президент, смята Меглена Кунева". (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  7. "Президентът трябва да е надпартиен". - Да извадим фактите наяве. Retrieved 2019-10-21.

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