Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy

Klaus von Beyme

in Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe Volume 1: Institutional Engineering

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780199244089
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600364 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Institutional Engineering and Transition to Democracy

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Begins by pointing out that the concept of institutional engineering was not invented for the latest wave of transitions from dictatorship to democracy, but rather created for evaluating a democratic country at a time when it was in crisis. In Eastern Europe, a peculiar constellation of old and new elites led the way through the process of compromise between old and new forces and old and new institutions. Voters’ increased fickleness and a weaker party system left more room for manoeuver to institutional engineers. This chapter describes and analyses four models of institutional engineering: constitutional engineering; semi‐presidential systems; electoral laws; and decision‐making by plebiscite. These models are then compared with the paths of transition of selected Eastern European countries and contrasted with countries from Western Europe.

Keywords: constitutional engineering; democratization; Eastern Europe; electoral laws; elites; institutional engineering; institutions; plebiscitarian decision making; semi‐presidential systems; Western Europe

Chapter.  7726 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

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