Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

By Jan Zielonka | Go to book overview

3 Constitutional Design and Problems of Implementation in Southern and Eastern Europe

Leonardo Morlino

A traditional theme of political philosophy has been identifying the 'optimal government', that is, defining what is considered to be the best polity. Since Plato's Republic this question has remained at the core of political philosophy. 1 With the process of democratization, first in southern Europe and Latin America and more recently in Eastern Europe and other areas of the world, this question has become crucial for political elites as well. Attempts to answer this question often lead to heated, lengthy debates on choosing the constitutional structures for these countries. But really to understand the democratic outcome in a given country, one must explore how the constitutional design was implemented. Implementation is a key institutional aspect in the multifaceted process of democratic consolidation. 2

Nevertheless, despite its salience the implementation of constitutional norms has been overshadowed by the 'best design' question.

-48-

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