Good Essay About Runninghead: Democracy In Eastern And Central Europe
Democracy in Eastern and Central Europe
Democracy in Eastern and Central Europe
Any system of government works through a proper channel in which every power is given responsibilities according to the prescribed status, state, and economy. Democratic countries consist of political elites that aim to establish political institutions. They intend to perform some form of functions that lead to decide the extent of legitimacy on which political decisions are based. The mass public, competing elites, and politicians with legitimacy in mind move ahead to create a democratic regime, which is stable and institutional too. Democratizers have to make important decisions in which the prime are to create a proper design of relationship and responsibilities between legislative and the executive (Müller-Rommel et.al, 2004, pp. 869-893). Each economy is divided according to different classifications and choices in which semi-presidential system comes too. In a political regime, the decision to introduce a level of parliamentary and Presidential system plays an important part to create a democratic economy that determines to progress through effective systems and developments behind effective rulers. Semi Presidential system is a specific type of system in which president and prime minister along with the cabinet rule the economy and its decisions. By being elected, they hold responsible for the state’s legislature. It is a typical sort of constitutional government, which is widely found in Post communist Eastern and Central European countries. Central and East European states have similar and very basic constitutional features according to which a president and a prime minister are elected based on directly elected fixed term, becoming ultimately responsible for running a parliament.
Europe consists of various countries such as Ukraine, France, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, and Austria that operate their economies differently and thus have varied division of political power (Mansfeldova, 2011, pp. 128-146). They are different from each other as each country has its own dominant actor of politics such as in France president has a dominant power. On the other hand, in Finland a balance of power is not equal at all between president and prime minister. In addition to that a European country of Ukraine, the power is divided between president and the parliament and various other countries having different systems with president being a figure head and the prime minister playing an important part of acting as a decision maker and dominating the process. However, all these countries have different forms of leadership in politics but institutionally they are similar to each other. Political practices and arrangements of constitution are formed in different forms and as a result, each state in Europe has different constitutional powers that are in the hands of political leaders. Political parties play an important part in forming the different concepts and frameworks that finally lead to the system and regimes of semi presidential (Rohrschneider & Whitefield, 2007, pp. 1133-1146). Following the framework, each European country follows the politics accordingly.
In the post communist region, the engineering of constitution has been an important element. Post communist transition led to the establishment of various institutional frameworks that could exercise political control. As a result, plenty of experiments took place under the name of innovative political systems under the region of Post Communist Central and Eastern European states. An institutional configuration in which president and prime minister play an important part to run the economy became a widely used system and a very general option among such countries.
The societies in the eastern and central Europe were not developing within their originated countries but were developing by the movement in the continent. In various eastern and central European countries, there were plenty of disadvantages in terms of economy, society, and politics. On the other hand, Western Europe was far better due to the facts that it was not taking the help of external models (Gijsberts & Nieuwbeerta, 2000, pp. 397-430). Realizing the need, politics started to spread in other parts of the society that developed the political culture and system. As a result, Eastern Europe transported some elements of the western European countries such as Poland and Hungary adopted parliamentary system while Czechoslovakia followed Western Europe’s democratic style. During that time, World War II was following, and the societies of central and Eastern Europe pursued Stalinist Soviet Model. As a result, new society was developing that was changing the political system and bringing it to predominance. Time passed by and central and eastern Europe witnessed plenty of revolutions such as found in Poland in the year 1980-1981. Many reformatory movements also took place such as in Prague in the year of 1968. Such revolutions were followed by the movement in Hungary also that occurred in 1956 and brought various changes to the political systems and structure. Time changed and there was a dire need for some parliamentary democracy. The democratic change and the external conditions matured with the passage of time. Central and eastern European countries started to move away from the influence of soviet Zone and moved towards real socialism. Eventually various regimes that were following authoritarianism collapsed. During 1990’s such changes in regimes were considered as quite peaceful, constitutional, and negotiated. Time followed and democracy took a lead with elections giving a chance to every individual to vote according to his choice and choose the one that he felt to be most deserving.
Since the early 1990’s, the system named as Semi-Presidential has been affecting the concept of democratization very hugely (Sedelius & Mashtaler, 2013, pp. 109-134). The system affected the regimes and found to affect the eastern and central Europe. In the prescribed system, the president and prime minister work according to the divided responsibilities and powers to govern the economy. President and prime minister are elected through a proper and effective election and then vow to rule the legislature. Semi-Presidential system is the system, which allows the president and prime minister to avoid the conflicts and work all together for the betterment of economy by fulfilling their responsibilities and thus bringing democracy. However, each economy and regime in East and Central Europe has its own way and potential to operate according to what suits. This means that each economy does not have the same type of powers given to president and prime minister but instead some have given stronger powers to president while in others prime minister has a major role to play in decision-making. Moreover, many operate according to the balance of powers between president and prime minister. As a result, Post Communist Central and East European states have plenty of forms related to Semi-Presidential system with some very near and conducive to democratization. Dividing the powers between president and prime minister has witnessed the establishment of democracy in European countries as the system allows survival and brings good impact to the performance of government so that it is stable in policy and decision-making.
Each state with the same political system keeps bringing effective changes and institutional innovations. Eastern and Central Europe consists of various economies and have their own ways to bring stability. As stated above, various types of government lead the regimes in eastern and central Europe such as Parliamentary system, Presidential system, and Semi Presidential system. Presidential system is said to bring much instability from the point of view of politics as it has dual democratic legitimacy and popular mandate (Elgie & McMenamin, 2011, pp. 616-635). Elections through which derive president and parliament work according to the deadlock. President work according to the fixed term and thus the system is characterized to be quite rigid. In various states of eastern and central Europe, president can only be removed through legal means. In spite of the facts, Presidential system is hugely practiced in various states.
On the other hand, in a Parliamentary system a government has legislative and executive branches that are against the separation of power based on democracy. The system creates parliamentary fragmentation and polarization due to which it is extremely unfavorable. In spite of the dangers as a result, Presidential system is the most favored system of politics and dominates the Eastern and Central Europe. They have similar Presidentialism, political practices, political institutions, and constitutional arrangements but with differences in political systems. In addition to that, new democracies’ constitutions vary according to the economy and country. Unicameral and bicameral parliaments are used in each country accordingly such as unicameral legislature is a part of Slovak Republic while bicameral legislature is followed by Romania. On the temporary basis, Czech Republic follows unicameral legislature. While observing states in Europe it is easy to examine that countries with small populations opt for unicameral while states that have larger population such as Russia and Poland have bicameral legislature.
Hungary, Slovakia, and Latvia follow parliamentary system that has the main characteristic of election (Hibbing & Patterson, 1994, pp. 570-592). Following elections of legislative assembly, a government is announced and drawn. Often the government is established after coalitions and lengthy negotiations. Government having the back in the assembly holds the office until it enjoys that support. Government’s tenure hugely depends upon how much confidence the legislature has upon the government. On the other hand, there are individual ministers who hold the responsibilities of parliament along with the collective cabinet. A legislative vote with no confidence can easily dismiss the government with maximum number of years become and determine the tenure of government. In the same way, cabinet also has the right to dismiss and dissolve the parliament and ask for the new elections. This means that the system of parliament used in various central and eastern European states have the combination of legislative and executive powers. However, the president being a head of state performs his role by being separated from the executive office. As a result, president cannot control allocation or selection of ministerial portfolios and composition of government as well. Prime minister of the chosen party through election on the other hand is responsible for extremely different duties such as establishing policies, taking appropriate decisions that are effective for the economy, and then finally devising ways to implement and bring such policies into action. He makes policies, then provides orders, and on the advices of appropriate individuals gets policies implemented. As a result, parliamentary system in central and European states has different roles for president and prime minister with great fusion of legislative and executive powers.
Contrary to parliamentary system in Central and Eastern European states, a system of presidential is mainly operated in Romania. A system has a mutual independence with a democracy. Its main source of legitimacy is its legislative power that works according to the fixed electoral power (Martz, 1997, p. 150). The same goes for executive power in which there is fixed electoral power with legitimacy acting as a main source. This means that executive and legislative structures are extremely different and strictly separated from each other. The reason behind such separation is its independent popular mandate that is denoted for executive and legislative. There is a single person working as an executive and acting as directly elected president with key responsibility to act as a head of state and government. President being a head has the right to judge, appoint, and dismiss the ministers any time according to the need, circumstances, and timely requirement. President having huge power and being strongest completes his tenure and his fixed term with no hurdle and interaction. Parliament has neither right nor unable to force president to leave his office and resign due to the political reasons. However, the president is forced to resign and leave his office only on the condition that there is impeachment. The tenure of a president is pre-determined or depends upon the condition that his survival has nothing to do or does not take the support of parliament. Moreover, along with the independence from parliament, president’s government is not liable to parliament but to the president. On the other hand, the responsibility to originate policies and then take decision confines to the legislative. President has the right to sanction the legislation and in turn, legislative is able to over ride that prohibition.
In addition to the presidential and parliamentary systems, there is a political system named as semi presidential system that comes out of combining the elements and features of both the models. Semi presidential system is named as dual system in which president being an executive who holds his position through proper elections comes with his own popular mandate (Protsyk, 2005, pp. 721-748). On the other hand, a government combines the president that draws from a directly elected legislative. Government is responsible to the parliament for all the actions. In the hybrid system of semi presidentialism, president has the right for holding the field of foreign affairs and defense. With executive prerogatives, he is also able to dissolve the parliament and can call for new elections. Moreover, being president he is also capable of appointing ministers, which is then agreed by the parliament. As the system is semi-presidential, it holds some responsibilities to the president while others come under the prime minister. Hybrid system combines both the presidential and parliamentary systems, with prime minister being responsible for the executive control and making policies upon which decisions are based. Cabinet also plays its role with prime minister in policy-making and implementation. This means that most of the executive powers are under the control of prime minister and cabinet with president having executive prerogatives with substantial basis. In this system, if a government loses a vote of confidence then it has no solution and reason to continue but must resign.
Post communist Europe has a distinguishing feature of executive leadership. Democracy has very few institutional models and in spite of that, various Post-communist Central and European states have gone for the mixture of parliamentary and presidential systems and thus presidential and parliamentary government. Each state undertakes and practices the executive power in dissimilar way and all the states have executive power with either president, prime minister, and the cabinet of ministers or the government working on their own or with a combination. An executive leadership being constituted is analyzed through judicial and legislative branches of government. In any political system, a traditional core is always the executive branch of government. Pre communist Europe has also witnessed judiciaries, parliaments, and bureaucracies that used to practice executive leadership (Sadurski, 2004, pp. 371-401). Nevertheless, in the modern era political system has undergone various changes in a political system adopted in central and Eastern Europe in which mainly states believe in sharing power with other branches of government. For the governance, political executive is held responsible for formulating policies and discharging leadership. Each state applies the nature of executive leadership in very different way and as a result, various intra executive leadership conflicts develop including the struggle for politics between president and prime minister and for controlling and looking after the branch of executive.
In any presidential system, there is president, prime minister and cabinet, and parliament. This particular system encounters the conflict in relation to executive legislature. On the other hand, plenty of post communist central and eastern European states adopt the mixed system in which president and prime minister along with the cabinet have major roles to play. Mixed system comes out with the intra executive conflict. This means that political executives are different in each state of Europe in terms of the procedure by which they come forward, the circles from which they are selected, the power and strength they have, and the polices that they adopt.
When the communism collapsed, various approaches developed to construct the political systems and thus executive power. For instance, Czech Republic has given very limited power to the president. Modern democracies pursue different types of executive government structures. The first is cabinet government in which prime minister plays a major role of executive leadership and his colleagues hold major departments of government. Cabinet is composed that helps to balance the political powers in the legislature that come out through legislative elections. Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic are such states that adopt the system of cabinet. On the other hand, a presidential system acts as an executive government that brings a single head and political executive by the approval of people through elections. In this model head of state and government is president who also plays ceremonial and effective roles. In the early 1990’s Ukraine adopted presidential system in which president selects administration’s key members who become an essential element of the executive. In both the systems, there is either a winner or a loser (Hipsher, 1997, pp. 217-219). The third system that proves to be a safe game is a mixed system that rotates the leaders, considered as the main characteristics of post communist central and Eastern Europe. After communism, the executive power in central and Eastern Europe evolved to bring flexibility and apply experiments that could determine constitutional authority and same time bring efficiency and democracy.
In the modern Europe, excluding Belarus, various states exercise no all-stronger president or a prime minister but instead political power has been divided according to the prime minister controlling office for shorter time and checked by president, parties, and parliaments. Under communism, there were lesser checks and balances on the executive power. Post communism revolutions focused upon such weakness and ensured sufficient strong leadership. Transition years in central and Eastern Europe did not witness leaders to hold office for longer periods. However, the trend changed in 1990’s and after that. Executive turnover was quite considerable after mid 1990’s in which elections started to take place after four or five years. Post communist Europe realized the importance and fact that the balancing of power and act of governance between president and prime minister would turn out to be beneficial for democratic sates in which there would be no all power president or prime minister but a balance.
Elgie, R, & McMenamin, I 2011, 'Explaining the Onset of Cohabitation under Semi-presidentialism', Political Studies, 59, 3, pp. 616-635,
Gijsberts, M, & Nieuwbeerta, P 2000, 'Class Cleavages in Party Preferences in the New Democracies in Eastern Europe: A comparison with Western democracies', European Societies, 2, 4, pp. 397-430,
Hibbing, J, & Patterson, S 1994, 'Public trust in the new parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe', Political Studies, 42, 4, pp. 570-592
Hipsher, PL 1997, 'The Failure of Presidential Democracy', Journal of Inter-American Studies & World Affairs, 39, 2, pp. 217-219,
Mansfeldova, Z 2011, 'Central European Parliaments over Two Decades - Diminishing Stability? Parliaments in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia', Journal of Legislative Studies, 17, 2, pp. 128-146
Martz, JD 1997, 'Presidentialism revisited', Studies in Comparative International Development, 32, 1, p. 150
Müller-Rommel, F, Fettelschoss, K, & Harfst, P 2004, 'Party government in Central Eastern European democracies: A data collection (1990–2003)', European Journal of Political Research, 43, 6, pp. 869-893
Protsyk, O 2005, 'Prime ministers’ identity in semi-presidential regimes: Constitutional norms and cabinet formation outcomes', European Journal of Political Research, 44, 5, pp. 721-748
Rohrschneider, R, & Whitefield, S 2007, 'Representation in New Democracies: Party Stances on European Integration in Post-Communist Eastern Europe', Journal of Politics, 69, 4, pp. 1133-1146
Sadurski, W 2004, 'Accession's Democracy Dividend: The Impact of the EU Enlargement upon Democracy in the New Member States of Central and Eastern Europe', European Law Journal, 10, 4, pp. 371-401
Sedelius, T, & Mashtaler, O 2013, 'Two decades of semi-presidentialism: issues of intra-executive conflict in Central and Eastern Europe 1991–2011', East European Politics, 29, 2, pp. 109-134
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