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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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Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy

Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering
Author(s):

Klaus von Beyme

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199244081.003.0001

Begins by pointing out that the concept of institutional engineering was not invented for the latest wave of transitions from dictatorship to democracy, but rather created for evaluating a democratic country at a time when it was in crisis. In Eastern Europe, a peculiar constellation of old and new elites led the way through the process of compromise between old and new forces and old and new institutions. Voters’ increased fickleness and a weaker party system left more room for manoeuver to institutional engineers. This chapter describes and analyses four models of institutional engineering: constitutional engineering; semi‐presidential systems; electoral laws; and decision‐making by plebiscite. These models are then compared with the paths of transition of selected Eastern European countries and contrasted with countries from Western Europe.

Keywords:   constitutional engineering, democratization, Eastern Europe, electoral laws, elites, institutional engineering, institutions, plebiscitarian decision making, semi‐presidential systems, Western Europe

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