1946 Bulgarian republic referendum

A referendum on becoming a republic was held in Bulgaria on 8 September 1946.[1] Official results showed 96% in favour of the change against only 4% in favour of retaining the monarchy, with voter turnout reported to be 92%.[2] The monarchy had effectively ended soon after the coup of 9 September 1944, which saw the Fatherland Front seize power. At that time, the regency council for the de jure head of state, Tsar Simeon II, was replaced by a new council made up entirely of members of the Bulgarian Communist Party, the dominant force of the Fatherland Front.

1946 Bulgarian republic referendum
8 September 1946
Votes %
Yes 3,833,183 95.63%
No 175,231 4.37%
Valid votes 4,008,414 96.99%
Invalid or blank votes 124,507 3.01%
Total votes 4,132,921 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 4,509,354 91.65%

On paper, the referendum was unconstitutional according to the Tarnovo Constitution still in force at the time. Under the Tarnovo Constitution, the state system could not be changed by a referendum. The only constitutional way to do so was by convening a Grand National Assembly, which could only take place at the tsar's initiative.[3]

The country was declared a people's republic on 15 September 1946, formally putting an end to 68 years of monarchy. On the following day, Simeon and his mother, Queen Giovanna, were forced to leave the country, although the queen had wanted to leave Bulgaria after the execution of Prince Kiril on 1 February 1945.[4]

After the referendum, elections were held a month later to elect a Grand National Assembly.[5] This body adopted a new republican constitution, known as the Dimitrov Constitution, which took effect the following year.[6]


Valid votes4,008,41496.99
Invalid/blank votes124,5073.01
Total votes4,132,921100.00
Registered voters/turnout4,509,35491.65
Source: Nohlen & Stöver


  1. ^ Dieter Nohlen & Philip Stöver (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p368 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p375
  3. ^ "1946: Third Bulgarian Kingdom ends with a referendum". bnr.bg. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  4. ^ "1946: ИСТИНСКИЯТ РЕФЕРЕНДУМ | Вестник "ДУМА"". Duma. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  5. ^   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain. Glenn E. Curtis (June 1992). "Communism". In Curtis, Glenn E. (ed.). Bulgaria: a country study. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. LCCN 93010955.
  6. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p355