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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars have explored the role of legislatures in the democratization process in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). There is evidence that legislative strength is correlated with democracy; the stronger the legislature the stronger the democracy. This chapterexamines the characteristics of a strong legislature and the significance of legislative strength to successful democratization. After discussing the collapse of communism in CEE and how it has influenced the design of constitutions, it considers three factors that contribute to the strength and functioning of legislatures: the constitutional powers attributed to the legislature versus the executive; the partisan structure of the legislative membership and its implications for policy-making and government stability; and the internal organizational features—the institutional capacity—of legislatures. It then considers the design and functioning of legislatures in the post-communist countries of CEE. It compares the constitutional structure of government systems and describes the causes and consequences of multipartism and legislative fragmentation. It also analyzes executive legislative relations and concludes by assessing internal organizational features such as committees, party system, and deputy experience, and their impact on legislative strength and effectiveness.

Keywords: legislatures, democratization, post-communist countries, Central and Eastern Europe, democracy, communism, constitutions, multipartism, executive legislative relations, party system

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