The Bulgarian town municipalities in Macedonia (1878 — 1903)


After the Berlin congress (1878) the Bulgarian town municipality network in Macedonia started to get rehabilitated and expanded. This was one of the priorities before the Exarchate which acted jointly with the self-governed institutions for the successful implementation of the national church activity within the vilayets.

In 1880 the program of the exarchate came out, which concerned the organization and the activity of the municipalities, their obligations and competence, their relation with the supreme church body, the population, the Ottoman authorities, as well as the inter municipal relations. Two years later - 1882 N. Sprostranov developed a draft statute for the municipality of Thessalonica, which was designed according to the requirements of the Exarchate and approved by it. It does not contain geographical restraints or specificities, therefore, it was planned for joint application (also in the other municipalities).

During the discussed period from 1878 to 1903 the Bulgarian town municipalities have strongly outlined structures and organization - internal allocation of duties among the members of the municipality. The chairperson has his leading place for the town governance of the activities which fall under their jurisdiction. Along with this church and school boards were formed which had specific functions. The voting system of the municipalities was interesting, which until 1896 was not firmly regulated and commonly valid. The unification came the instructions published this same year regarding the voting procedure.

 The institutions supported permanent relationship with the Exarchate and turned to it for cooperation in connection with different issues. They established contacts to help their common work. It was important for the success of the church and the school activity in the vilayets is also the cooperation between the municipalities and the population - the supportive attitude of the institutions, which present the people, on the one hand, and the adherence to the municipal decisions, on the other hand. A significant problem for all Bulgarian self-governance bodies is their financial situation. For this purpose the more initiative of them search for additional sources of finances, which would help to support their activity. Regardless of these efforts, the permanent insufficiency of fund forced the municipalities to search for support by the exarchate, which, as a common Bulgarian institution had the moral obligation to respond the requests for help.

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