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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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The Czech Republic: From the Burden of the Old Federal Constitution to the Constitutional Horse Trading Among Political Parties

The Czech Republic: From the Burden of the Old Federal Constitution to the Constitutional Horse Trading Among Political Parties

Chapter:
(p.319) 12 The Czech Republic: From the Burden of the Old Federal Constitution to the Constitutional Horse Trading Among Political Parties
Source:
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering
Author(s):

Petr Kopecký

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199244081.003.0012

Describes the transition of the Czech Republic from the federal Constitution of Czechoslovakia to the adoption of a new Constitution of the Czech Republic. The Czech Constitution is widely accepted to be a solid foundation for the country's democratic political system. The chapter focuses on the impact of historical legacies and shows how the nature of bargaining becomes more predictable when the domestic political actors involved in constitution‐drafting provide a stable set of opinions and motivations from which a compromise can be forged. In order to demonstrate this point, the chapter is divided into three parts. The first examines the key elements of the constitution‐making process in the Czechoslovak Federation between 1989 and 1992. It explains the crucial constitutional decisions made during Roundtable Talks and how this particular legacy, combined with the volatile nature of transition politics, resulted in Czechoslovakia's Velvet Divorce. The second part concentrates on the process of drafting the new Constitution of the Czech Republic at the end of 1992. Finally, Kopecky discusses the effects of the Constitution on the democratic Czech Republic.

Keywords:   bargaining, constitution, constitution‐drafting, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, democracy, democratic consolidation, institutional engineering, political parties, Roundtable Talks

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