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Institutional Design and Party Government in Post-Communist Europe$
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Csaba Nikolenyi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675302.001.0001

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Post-Communist Institutional Design

Post-Communist Institutional Design

Electoral Systems, Parliaments, and Presidents

(p.22) Chapter 2 Post-Communist Institutional Design
Institutional Design and Party Government in Post-Communist Europe

Csaba Nikolenyi

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that while all ten post-communist democracies adopted parliamentary systems of government, the degree to which political power is concentrated in their parliaments, more precisely in a majority that controls the legislature, varies considerably. The relative level of power dispersion is determined by four sets of institutions (electoral rules; the structure of the legislature; rules of government formation and termination; and the powers of the presidency), which constrain and influence political parties’ coalitional choices. Based on a detailed comparative review of their institutional arrangements, the chapter identifies three groups of post-communist democracies with regard to how favorable they are for the parliamentary concentration of power: i) states with the most favorable conditions for power concentration (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia); ii) states with mixed conditions (Latvia and Slovakia); and states with the least favorable conditions (Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland and Romania).

Keywords:   electoral systems, parliaments, bicameralism, presidents, power dispersion, power concentration, institution design, political power

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