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Case Study on Bulgaria: From Totalitarianism to Democratic Local Governance


Kapitanova, G., & Minis, H. P. (2003). Case Study on Bulgaria: From Totalitarianism to Democratic Local Governance.


From 1989 to 1991, Bulgaria, like many other countries in Eastern Europe, went through a dramatic transition from totalitarian socialist rule to democratic governance. The transitional period required the creation of temporary governing structures that would incorporate more broad-based representation, on the one hand, but also would ensure some continuity in basic services to citizens. The transitional experience was difficult, for a number of reasons. First, there was no clear recipe for making the transition, so the temporary structures were established more on the basis of faith than of proven experience. Second, the transition required new governing skills and attitudes that were not part of the country's "mentality." However, the establishment of temporary governing committees that paved the way for a new legal framework for permanent local government—plus subsequent attention to building a network of local government support organizations—provides a number of lessons about a successful local government transition.