Paper/Speech Details of Conference Program for the 30th NISPAcee Annual Conference Program Overview WG10: Politico-Administrative Relations in CEE Author(s) Emilia Zankina Temple University Rome Italy Title Political loyalty vs. merit: regional government In Bulgaria File Paper files are available only for conference participants, please login first. Presenter(s) Emilia Zankina Abstract This paper focuses on politico-administrative relations in the Bulgarian regional governments. Regional governors in Bulgaria are political appointees, as are their deputies and cabinet members. They are appointed by the Council of Ministers to oversee national policy at the local level. They exercise significant power at the local level, including being able to vet acts and decisions of the elected mayors and city council. They dispose of enormous resources and are in charge of the regional administration as well as the respective units of the territorial administration. With little oversight over their power beyond that of the Council of Ministers and the Prime minister who appoint them, regional governors constitute a powerful political instrument at the local level and one that is not accountable to voters. This paper traces the political affiliations and career paths of regional governors and their cabinets in attempt to examine the relative importance of political loyalty vs. merit at the local level. The paper utilizes data from the national administrative registry, national and local media sources, and interviews.