Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Synopsis

This is the first volume in a series of books on democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe. The series focuses on three major aspects of democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe: institutional engineering, transnational pressures and civil society. This first volume analyses constraints onand opportunities of institutional engineering in Eastern Europe: to what extent and how elites in Eastern Europe have been able to shape, if not manipulate, the politics of democratic consolidation through institutional means. The aim is to contrast a set of democracy theories with empirical evidence accumulated in Eastern Europe over the last ten years. The volume tries to avoid complex debates about definitions, methods and the uses and misuses of comparative research. Instead it tries to establish what has reallyhappened in the region, and which of the existing theories have proved helpful in explaining these developments. The volume starts with a presentation of conceptual and comparative frameworks, followed by in-depth empirical analyses of the thirteen individual countries undergoing democratic consolidation. The first conceptual and comparative part contains three chapters. The first chapter explains whatinstitutional engineering is about and describes our experiences with institutional engineering in former transitions to democracy. It also focuses on the import and export of institutional designs. The second chapter analyses the utility of constitutions in the process of democratic consolidation. The third chapter compares constitutional designs and problems of implementation in Southern and Eastern Europe. The empirical case studies deal with the following countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary andPoland. And the conclusions evaluate the enormous impact of institutions on politics in Eastern Europe and show how central constitutional designs are to the institutional engineering in the societies undergoing transitions to democracy.

Excerpt

This study of constitutional processes in thirteen post-communist states is one of three books prepared within the Project on Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe. The project has been sponsored by the European University Institute in Florence and its Research Council. The two other volumes in the series deal with (a) international and transnational factors involved in democratic consolidation, and (b) civil society and democratic orientations within Eastern Europe. The aim of the project is to contrast a set of democracy theories with empirical evidence accumulated in Eastern Europe over the last ten years. We try to avoid complex debates about definitions, methods, and the uses and misuses of comparative research. Instead we try to establish what has really happened in the region, and which of the existing theories have proved helpful in explaining these developments. Each volume starts with a presentation of conceptual and comparative frameworks, followed by in-depth analyses of the individual countries undergoing democratic consolidation.

I am especially grateful to the European University Institute and its Research Council for their generous financial support and intellectual leadership. Individual members of the Research Council such as Roeland In't Veld, Pierre Hassner, Johan Olsen, Vincent Wright, and Fritz Scharpf gave me the initial encouragement to undertake this ambitious project and guided me through its successive stages. I am also indebted to my co-editors of the two other volumes, Dieter Fuchs, Ronald Inglehart, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, and Alex Pravda, who provided important bridges between the project's three distinct parts. Special thanks go to Nida Gelazis who has made the most valuable organizational and editorial contribution to this volume, and to Alexandra George who has done the final polishing and prepared the book for publication. Excellent secretarial assistance was provided by Dorothea Detring. Above all I am indebted to the authors of the individual chapters for all the effort, talent, persistence, and devotion invested in successive drafts of their contributions.

Finally, I would like to thank Dominic Byatt from Oxford University Press for his willingness to take on this large publishing project and for ensuring its smooth accomplishment.

J. Z.

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