The process of stabilization of democracy in Central Europe and in Europe

Leonardo Morlino: Democratic Anchoring: How to Analyze Consolidation and Crisis
This paper proposes a middle range theory, circumscribed in space and in time on democratic consolidation and crisis. It makes two initial assumptions, such as every theory of democratic consolidation has to encompass, either implicitly or explicitly, an analysis of the opposite phenomenon and consolidation and its opposite are processes. The empirical bases of the theoretical proposal developed here are provided by a previous empirical research on the four main Southern European countries, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece (Morlino 1998). The possibility of an application of those theoretical propositions to other areas, especially Eastern Europe, is unfolded. Thus, the first two sections will briefly review some of the key concepts and the main theoretical propositions to sketch a theory of consolidation and crisis; the third one will discuss the Southern European cases; the fourth will emphasize the possibility of applying that theoretical proposal to other countries, especially those of Eastern Europe; the concluding remarks will merely sum up a few main aspects of the theoretical proposal called democratic anchoring.

Mariano Torcal: Institutional Disaffection and Democratic History in New Democracies
This a comparative study of institutional disaffection, one of the dimensions of political disaffection, in new democracies.  The aggregate levels of institutional disaffection do not reveal a well-defined third-wave cluster of countries; although on average institutional disaffection is higher among new democracies.  This is so because institutional disaffection in not the product of the recent non-democratic experiences that gave the way to the third wave, but the result of decades of democratic history.  Past democratic history not only explain different levels of institutional disaffection, but also the distinctive nature of institutional disaffection in new democracies.

Wolfgang Merkel: Civil Society and Democratic Consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe
The article brings together two strands of an argument that have as yet been insufficiently connected: research into consolidation of democracy and the concept(s) of civil society. The argument will be developed in five steps: the four classical functions of civil society in political philosophy are identified; the most important functions of civil societies in post –autocratic regimes are summarised; a “realistic concept” of civil society is developed; typical “cycles” of mobilisation and organization and organization of activity in civil societies during the different phases of transition to democracy; finally, the specific (empirical) impact that civil society has had on the successful democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe

Tamás Kolosi: System Change and Elite Change in Hungary
The economic and political transformation had to result in the creation of a bourgeois class owning the means of production, the proportion of independent existences based on enterprises obviously had to grow, and the weight of positions in market conditions increased, while the weight of positions in the politically determined redistribution decreased within the social structure. The empirical research done concerning the initial stage of the system change disproved Hankiss and Staniszkis’s theory of “elite reproduction”, while giving significant support to the hypothesis of the “revolution of deputy managers”. The current redistributive elite was recruited for the greater part from the „eligible” members of the former redistributive elite, and for the smaller part from the former opposition and its sympathizers. The revolution of deputy managers was effective primarily in this segment of the elite. Today’s market elite contains in equal number persons who gained skills and capital in the former redistributive elite, in the former second economy, and earlier in Western emigration.

Michael Klima: Electoral Reform in the Czech Republic (1998-2000)
During the years 1998 – 2000, unprecedented efforts were made by the two winning parties in the Czech general elections to change the electoral system in an instrumental manner. This form of electoral engineering produced what is probably the most disproportional PR system existing amongst standard democracies. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the basic characteristics of the electoral mechanism introduced by the reform, particularly with regard to the constitutionally-enshrined principle of PR applied to elections to the lower chamber of Czech parliament. In January 2001, the Constitutional Court cancelled key provisions of the electoral reform which it judged to be in conflict with the principle of proportional representation enshrined in the Constitution.

Marek Rybar: Party System Instability and the Emergence of New Parties in Slovakia
This essay is an attempt to capture the evolutionary dynamics of mutual dependency between party system instability and the emergence of new parties in Slovakia. It is argued that the party system in Slovakia had been only partially stabilized, the main source of this partial stability being a party system division between more authoritarian and democratic political parties. The emergence of new parties has been facilitated by an open institutional structure. While existing political opportunity structure is favorable to new political projects, new parties need a great deal of resources in order to succeed in the elections. The three new parties analyzed are extremely centralized and dominated by their founding leaders, with party rank-and-file playing only a marginal role.  They have been using capital-intensive marketing techniques, when party leaders are “sold” by campaign specialist as “goods” whose characteristics are rather amenable to preferences of the electorate.

Elisabeth Bakke: The Pinciple of National Self-determination in Czechoslovak Constitutions 1920–1992.
The underlying long-term conflict that eventually drove Czechoslovakia apart can be formulated as a ‘Slovak question’ with two dimensions: first whether the Slovaks should be recognized as a separate nation, and second whether they should have political autonomy within Czechoslovakia. The purpose of the article is to show how this conflict was reflected in the five Czechoslovak constitutions and constitutional amendments and in the Czech and Slovak constitutions. The article is divided in three sections. The first section identifies the nation(s) that according to Czechoslovak constitutions were regarded as state-forming subjects, and shows to what extent the principle of national self-determination was explicitly invoked in the various constitutions. The second section demonstrates that national minority rights did not change much, while the institutional setup and division of power varied much more, from a centralized, unitary state in the interwar period, to a symmetric federation of two national republics after 1968. The third section shows how the failure to agree on a Czechoslovak constitution after 1989 was related to the underlying long-term conflict. All Slovak positions can be understood in terms of the principle of national self-determination.

Gábor G. Fodor: Political secession – The politics of withdrawal
The subject of this article is: ‘political secession’. This essay claim that similar to secession in art – where withdrawal means the leaving of official establishments, escape to beauty  in the name of  l’art pour l’art – secession in politics means on the one hand the leaving of traditional establishments, a kind of attempt to create a special counter-culture, and means on the other hand the giving up of political instruments considered to be traditional, withdrawal to the retreat of a l’art pour l’art science – this is the logic of ‘non-political politics’. ‘Political secession’ means: the logic of political thought extends its authority over science in order to validate its demands as a scientific politics.