Miroslav Svirčević

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Institute for Balkan Studies of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.


Local Self-Government in the Municipalities of Serbia and Bulgaria after the 1878 Congress of Berlin

According to the Berlin Treaty (1878), the Principality of Serbia became an independent state with an enlarged teritory (Nish, Vranje, Pirot, Toplica). Bulgaria was devided into two legal-political units: the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. The Principality of Bulgaria gained a status of a vasal state under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire while Eastern Rumelia obtained a status of a province without political autonomy, under complete power of the Sultan. In 1888 a new liberal-democratic Constitution was passed in Serbia. According to this Constitution, two important laws were adopted too: Law on Municipalities of 1889 and Law on Counties and Districts of 1890. They established an important level of self-government in municipalities, districts and counties. A special process of the establishment of the first state and local government was carried out in the Principality of Bulgaria by the Russian temporary government. In 1879 the first Bulgarian – Trnovo Constitution was passed. Afterwards, several important laws were also adopted. Regarding Eastern Rumelia, an international Committee made a Statute for this province being confirmed by the Sultan. The Statute provided for both institutions of the central and local authorities, based on the principal of the bureaucratic centralism. In 1885 Eastern Rumelia proclaimed the unification with the Principality of Bulgaria. After that, two important laws regarding local self-government were adopted: Law on Town Municipalities and Law on Village Municipalities, both od 1886.