Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism

Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism

Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism

Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism

Synopsis

Since the late 1980s and the collapse of communist, military, and race-based regimes across the world, the euphoria over democracy's triumph has given way to the practical question of how to enhance the viability of democratic constitutional government.

That is the subject of this book, with particular attention to the following questions:

-- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the available models of democratic governance and how adaptable are they to other societies? (Joel Aberbach; Bert Rockman; Gregory S. Mahler);

-- What are the most effective mechanisms for ensuring the accountability of public officials? (Fred W. Riggs; James L. Sundquist);

-- How does legislative structure enhance or diminish the prospects for democratic stabilization? (Abdo I. Baaklini);

-- What can transitional societies learn from the experience of India, Turkey, and Russia? (T.V. Sathyamurthy; Ersin Kalaycioglu; Erik P. Hoffmann);

-- How does the need for economic adjustment impact democractic consolidation? (Diane Ethier);

-- How has globalization complicated the task of democratic state-building? (Philp G. Cerny).

Excerpt

Gregory S. Mahler

The British Parliament is often referred to as the "mother of parliamentary democracies." This metaphor refers to the fact that many parliamentary democracies around the world were at one time governed from Westminster, and as many of them attained independence and were establishing their own governments, they chose to incorporate--sometimes directly and sometimes with modifications--many of the institutions and practices referred to today as composing the Westminster Model of parliamentary government.

We know a good deal about the mother of parliamentary democracies--how Britain's political institutions and practices have evolved over the last several hundred years, and what those institutions and practices are. What has not been done with sufficient frequency over the last many years, however, is to systematically study the adaptations of the Westminster Model to note what institutions and practices have been developed in those legislative settings.

As the former colonies have become independent political actors, at least two very interesting phenomena have developed. First, we have seen . . .

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