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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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Legitimacy: The Price of a Delayed Constitution in Poland

Legitimacy: The Price of a Delayed Constitution in Poland

(p.431) 16 Legitimacy: The Price of a Delayed Constitution in Poland
Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering

Mirosław Wyrzykowski

Oxford University Press

Describes the constitution‐making process in Poland. The main feature of this process was the ability to reach a compromise in a conflict‐prone political setting. The chapter analyses major stages of the process of democratic consolidation and the constitutionalization, and examines issues such as legitimacy, balance of power, and the role of the state. The first significant breakthrough in the process was the interim constitution of 1992. The chapter emphasizes its importance in the process of institutional engineering despite its numerous shortcomings. The chapter also points out that the adoption of the Polish Constitution by referendum did not resolve the debate on legitimacy. Finally, it shows that despite the contentious adoption of the Constitution, it has had a stabilizing effect on Polish democracy. Overall, the Polish Constitution is described as a constitution of compromise and of political pragmatism.

Keywords:   balance of power, constitution, constitutionalism, democratic consolidation, institutional engineering, legitimacy, Poland, political pragmatism, referendum, state

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