REPUBLICAN PRINCE: Simeon II of Bulgaria From King to Prime Minister

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REPUBLICAN PRINCE: Simeon II of Bulgaria From King to Prime Minister
by Darius Kadivar
12-Jul-2011
 

From King to Prime Minister of The Republic of Bulgaria. Rather than regaining his throne, King Simeon II returned to Bulgaria in 2001 after more than 50 years in exile at the head of a democratically elected government.

Simeon II of Bulgaria (born 16 June 1937) is an important political and royal figure in Bulgaria. He was head of state as the Tsar of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946, when the monarchy was overthrown. He later served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from 2001 until August 2005.

Simeon is one of the last living heads of state from the World War II-era, the only living person who bore the Slavonic title "Tsar", and one of the few monarchs in history to have become the head of government through democratic elections.

Documentary by ABC Australia:

(NOTE: To Watch Double Click Here and Skip Ad)

The King Returns:

8 February 1990, first appearance of Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on Bulgarian TV. Less than 3 months after the beginning of the collapse of Communism - the resignation on 10th November of Todor Zhivkov, who ruled the country for more than 30 years.

(NOTE: To Watch Double Click Here)

The Kingdom of Bulgaria existed from 1908 to 1946. It had earlier become independent of the Turkish Ottoman Empire as the Principality of Bulgaria but after joining with East Rumelia became a full kingdom with the monarch given the title of "Tsar". As such, it is sometimes known as the 3rd Bulgarian Empire. Following the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe at the end of World War II the young monarch King Simeon II was deposed and Bulgaria became a communist republic, a puppet regime of the Soviet Union in 1946. After the end of the Cold War Simeon II was finally able to return and eventually was elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria; the only former monarch to return to politics in such a way. The royal house is Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Royals of Bulgaria:

About Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha known as King Simeon II of Bulgaria:

Simeon is the son of Tsar Boris III and Tsarita Giovanna di Savoia and is related to various European royals, including Queen Elizabeth II, King Albert II of Belgium and the former Kings Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Humbert II of Italy. Following his birth, Boris III sent an air force officer to the River Jordan to obtain water for Simeon's baptism in the Orthodox faith.[1] He became Czar on 28 August 1943 upon the death of his father, shortly after his return to Bulgaria from a meeting with Adolf Hitler.[2][3] Since Tsar Simeon was only six years old upon assuming the throne, his uncle Prince Kyril of Bulgaria, Prime Minister Bogdan Filov, and Lieutenant-General Nikola Mihailov Mihov of the Bulgarian Army were appointed regents.[4]

On 5 September 1944 the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and the Red Army invaded the country. On 9 September 1944, Prince Kyril and the other regents were deposed by a Soviet-backed coup and arrested. The three regents, all members of the last three governments, Parliament deputies, heads of the army and eminent journalists were executed by the Communists in February 1945. The royal family (Queen Giovanna, Simeon II, and his sister Maria-Louisa) remained at Vrana Palace near Sofia, while new communist regents were appointed. In her memoirs, Queen Giovanna recounts that Soviet soldiers at that time would entertain themselves by shooting at random in the direction where she was walking with the children. On 15 September 1946, a plebiscite was held in the presence of the Soviet army. It resulted in over 97% approval for a newly established republic and abolished the monarchy. On 16 September 1946, the royal family was exiled from Bulgaria. However, Simeon II never signed any abdication papers (which were unlikely to have any legality anyway, as he was still a minor). The royal family first went to Alexandria, Egypt, where Queen Giovanna's father Victor Emanuel III, King of Italy, lived in exile. There, Simeon II finished Victoria College (along with Crown Prince Leka of Albania). In July 1951, the Spanish government of Francisco Franco granted asylum to the family. Simeon issued several political declarations during his exile through his "chancellery" in Madrid directed at the Communist regime in Bulgaria and his exiled compatriots. His early attempts at forming an official government in exile did not come to fruition, however.

In Madrid, Simeon studied at the Lycée Français, but did not graduate. On 16 June 1955, upon turning 18, in accordance with the Tarnovo Constitution Simeon II read his proclamation to the Bulgarian people as the Tsar of Bulgaria, confirming his will to be king of all Bulgarians and follow the principles of Tarnovo Constitution and free Bulgaria. In 1958, he enrolled at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in the United States, where he was known as "Cadet Rylski No. 6883",[6] and graduated as a second lieutenant. Once again in Spain, Simeon studied law and business administration.

He became a businessman. For thirteen years, he was chairman of the Spanish subsidiary of Thomson, a French defence and electronics group. He was also an adviser in the banking, hotel, electronics, and catering sectors.

Views on restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy:

Simeon II has never renounced his royal claim to the Bulgarian throne. He used the title "Tsar of the Bulgarians" in his political statements during his exile. Since his return to Bulgaria, however, Simeon has consistently declined to reveal his views on the restoration of the Bulgarian monarchy. Upon taking office as prime minister, he took an oath to protect the country's republican Constitution. More Here

Related Pictory:

Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi and Bulgaria’s Crown Prince Kardan at Belgian Royal Christening (2004)

Related Blogs:

RESTORATION: Greek Constitutional Monarchy Toppled by Military Coup (April 21st, 1967)

RESTORATION: Belgium King Baudouin takes Oath Amidst Republican Animosity (31st July ,1950)

HISTORY FORUM: How Truly Democratic is The British Monarchy ?

HISTORY FORUM:The Monarchy with David Starkey (Cambridge University)

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Very interesting observations indeed which prove that entering the political arena is always risky for a Royal figurehead.

 

Something which Simeon seemed to have tried to do through perfectly democratic means which in itself was commendable.

 

You cannot rule and reign at the same time. Because either way you are bound to make mistakes which will be used against you by your political foes. Having been a King but accepting to relinquish that title so as to run the country as a Prime Minister ultimately jeopardized his own chances of Restoring the Monarchy on the short term at least.

 

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radius-of-the-persian-cat

Tzar Simeon

by radius-of-the-persian-cat on

Hi Darius, When Tzar Simeon returned to Sofia in 2001 to be elected Prime Minister, he arrived with great hopes and promisses, having the ambition to bring back the country to prosperity and stability. Comming back from his life-long spanish exyl, he found a country that was devastated, but not so much by the 40 years of communism, but to a larger degree "thanks" to the ten years of post-communist "free market economy". Of course nobody wanted to have back the unfreedom and stagnation that ruled the country since the late fourties, but during this time there was a minimal living standard for everybody and the country made a peaceful and happy impression. After fall of communism, a rapid process of decay started everywhere around, paired with a unforseen rise of crime, organized mafiotic crime, corruption and political bribery and misusage of political influence. This caused the most devastating frustration in any of the former soviet block countries I have ever seen.

When Simeon arrived, he knew what he was facing. But he completely underestimated the efford and time it would take to repair all this. He was also not "political experienced" in the sense that he could cast "strategic alliances" with other groups appart from the minority who saw him as a possible reincarnation of the monarchy. Baldly said: The other political forces were mobbing him as good as they could. Simeon once attended a Gypsy wedding and declared (with obviously a very nostalgic feeling) that gypsy culture and tradition was and always deserves to be an integral part of Bulgaria. Although he was absolutely right in my eyes, most bulgarians had a big issue with this (I guess very typical of a small nation dreaming of its gorgeous past when they were raiding Byzanz or beeing part of the persian empire during the period of its largest extension). So Simeons sympathy with the gypsy minority took away from him the last support by his people. At the 2005 election his party "National Movement Simeon II" lost and had to form a coalition with the socialist. At the 2009 elections he ended 3 % and is nowadays virtually absent from the political scene.

He came with big ambitions, but little fortune, which reminds me a bit of the era of president Khatami in Iran. 

One interesting thing should be added to your historical scetch on Bulgaria: It was the only allies of Nazi Germany who resisted succesfully the deportation of the Jews. For this, I"d say, Bulgarias then Tzar BorisIII and its people would deserve the title "Righteous among the Nations" from Israel.