Revolution and Change in Central and Eastern Europe: Political, Economic, and Social Challenges

By Minton F. Goldman | Go to book overview

2
Problems of Postcommunist Development

After the collapse of Communist Party rule, the Central and East European governments tried to develop Western-style democracy, some version of the free-market economy, societal peace and unity, and a diversified foreign policy with new links to the West. But six years into the postcommunist era, although they have made great strides, they face horrendous problems in their search for political stability, material well-being, stability and tranquility at home, and security abroad.


Establishing Democratic Government

Postcommunist governments in Central and Eastern Europe tried to democratize the parliamentary institutions inherited from the communist past. Single-party dictatorships gave way to political pluralism with free, open, and competitive elections for national parliaments. Freedom of the press, of assembly, of thought, and of religion was guaranteed in law. And communist-style parliamentary government was modified to operate more like the Western model, with the acceptance of parliamentary approval of and control over ministerial leadership through the "no-confidence" vote, which requires that a cabinet resign if it loses majority support in parliament.

But the postcommunist parliamentary systems do not yet work as they do in London, Paris, and Bonn. They are burdened by a proliferation of political parties, strong authoritarian tendencies of leaders and governments, a nostalgia for the communist past accompanied by a pervasive voter cynicism and apathy, and,

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