Turnovo Constitution of 1879

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Turnovo Constitution of 1879


a constitution adopted in the city of Turnovo (now Veliko Turnovo) on Apr. 16, 1879, by the Constituent Assembly of Bulgaria after the country’s liberation from Ottoman rule. The Turnovo’ Constitution established equality before the law for all citizens, abolished the division of society into estates, and extended suffrage to all male citizens 21 years of age or older. It also ensured self-government for communes, freedom of the press, and the inviolability of person and property and made provisions for compulsory, free primary education. In distributing the powers of the state, the constitution established a regular, unicameral national assembly to draft laws and approve the national budget and a special popular assembly, composed of twice as many deputies, to elect a prince in the event there was no successor to the dynasty and to amend the constitution when necessary. It vested executive authority and control of the armed forces in the head of state—initially the hereditary prince but after 1908 the tsar—and divided legislative authority between the executive and parliament.

In 1881 the Turnovo Constitution was abrogated by Prince Alexander of Battenburg. It was restored, however, partly in 1883, after amendments were made increasing the powers of the prince. The Turnovo Constitution was restored entirely in 1884. Changes were made in 1893 and again in 1911 to limit the rights of parliament. In 1934, after the fascist coup of May 19, the Turnovo Constitution ceased to be in force. It was officially abolished on Dec. 4,1947, by act of the National Assembly.


Protokolite na Uchreditelno bulgarsko Narodno subranie v Turnovo iKonstitutsiiata. Plovdiv 1879.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The monarchists within the oppositional and fervently anti-Communist Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) alliance rejected the new basic charter because it retained the republican form of government, while they preferred a return to the Turnovo Constitution of 1879, which had declared Bulgaria a constitutional kingdom.