Legitimacy: The Price of a Delayed Constitution in Poland

Mirosław Wyrzykowski

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

 Legitimacy: The Price of a Delayed Constitution in Poland

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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

Chapter.  9745 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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