Ilia Todev

The beginning of Bulgarian republicanism is commonly associated with the Revolutionary camp in National Revival. It is almost unknown that simultaneously the Evolutionists promoted radical republican ideas which didn’t remain a platonic dream but found application in the constitution of the Exarchate. Re-established in 1870, this Bulgarian Church had important lay powers (judicial, administrative, financial, cultural, representative); that is why it was not only a religious institution – as a kind of theocratic cultural-national autonomy it was also an embryo of state. The Exarchic statutes provided for collegial form of government through a Mixed (i.e. composed by clerics and laymen) council presided by an Exarch. Both the Exarch (considered only as primus inter pares) and the members of the Council were elected for four years. Such political system is called directorial republic - and the author thinks it admissible to consider the Exarchate (at least because of its constitution) as the first Bulgarian republic. Launched in the spring of 1870 through a text entitled “Urgent Reflections”, the Bulgarian idea for such type of rule was probably inspired by the political views of Rousseau and their practical implementation in French Directory (1795-99).