By Raymond Taras
A comprehensive analysis of politics in a young European democracy, this book describes the principal features of Poland's democratic system- the political institutions, parties, elections, and leaders that have shaped the transition from communism. Raymond Taras examines the complex Walesa phenomenon; the comeback of the communists; and the uneasy relationship between the presidency, parliament, and the prime minister. Recognizing that democratic consolidation requires economic development, Taras considers Poland's economic performance under free-market rules as well as the related issues of privatization, foreign investment, trade, and integration into the global economy. Applying a regime-change framework that focuses on the sequence of crisis, choice, and change, he contextualizes Poland's political and economic transformation during the 1990s, describing the sources of crisis of the former communist regime and reviewing the political solutions considered by the embattled ruling elite and the restless Solidarity opposition. Throughout, Taras summarizes and tests a variety of theories governing democratic transition, institution building, and economic development, making an important contribution to the comparative study of democratic consolidation.