The original of the Turnovo and the Silver Constitution, as well as the personal belongings of Petko Slaveikov will be displayed in the National Assembly. The exhibition is dedicated to 140 years from the adoption of the first Bulgarian Constitution.
The items on display will include the table on which the text of the Turnovo Constitution was signed, the first Bible in Bulgarian, as well as the personal belongings of Petko Slaveikov.
The exhibition will be open to the public on Sunday, 10th of February, on the Open Doors Day in Parliament.
The Turnovo Constitution, which is Bulgaria’s first Constitution, was adopted on 16th April 1879 by the Constituent National Assembly held in Bulgaria’s old capital, Veliko Turnovo. The Turnovo Constitution is the first Constitution after Bulgaria’s liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878.
The peace settlement called the Treaty of San Stefano, signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire in the same year, provided for a new disposition of the Ottoman Empire. Its most important provision established an independent Bulgarian Principality.
The constitution of the Bulgarian Principality was based on the model of the Belgium constitution and was drafted by the most outstanding for the time Bulgarian intellectuals and lawyers. The Turnovo Constitution devised a framework for modern liberal political values.
The Constitution stipulated all functions and areas of responsibility of the Bulgarian state institutions in accordance with the principle of separation of powers among an executive, a legislative, and a judiciary branch.
According to article 4 of Turnovo constitution Bulgaria was a hereditary and constitutional monarchy with a Parliament whose members were elected by the people. The monarch was endowed with extensive powers to participate in the domestic life of the country and in international relations.
The constitution also provided for the responsibilities of ministers, the inviolability of MPs and strong municipal governance. It established the inviolability of private property, allowed freedom of press and provided for the Bulgarian Principality’s citizens’ right to assembly and association. It also allowed orders and medals of distinction to be granted to military men for achieved military merits.
Since then Bulgaria has had four constitutions. The current fundamental law was adopted in 1991 after the fall of communism in Bulgaria.