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Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering$
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Jan Zielonka

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244089

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199244081.001.0001

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Rebuilding Democracy in Latvia: Overcoming a Dual Legacy

Rebuilding Democracy in Latvia: Overcoming a Dual Legacy

Chapter:
(p.139) 5 Rebuilding Democracy in Latvia: Overcoming a Dual Legacy
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering
Author(s):

Adolf Sprudzs

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199244081.003.0005

Emphasizes the difficult process of constitutional engineering in Latvia. The author argues that these difficulties stem from two historical legacies: the inter‐war independence period and the Soviet occupation. The quick re‐adoption of the 1922 Latvian constitution after the country's leaders declared independence from the USSR, paradoxically exacerbated the process of institutional engineering and ultimately slowed the pace of democratic consolidation. The chapter indicates several important gaps in the inter‐war constitution, e.g. the absence of basic rights or the provisions for local government administration. Despite the difficulties presented by the 1922 Constitution, the author argues that the high legitimacy achieved through its re‐adoption kept Latvia on the democracy‐building track. Finally, several positive and negative lessons learned from the Latvian transition period are presented.

Keywords:   constitution, democratic consolidation, independence, institutional engineering, Latvia, legitimacy, Soviet legacy, USSR

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