Dawn Brancati

in Peace by Design

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199549009
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720307 | DOI:

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This chapter presents the case study of Czechoslovakia (1989–1993). Czechoslovakia's dissolution in 1993 was remarkable because only a few Czechs and Slovaks, and none of the country's major political parties, supported dissolution. The chapter attributes the failure to agree on a new constitution, which led to the country's breakup, to regional parties whose positions on the constitution were seen as unreasonable by parties in the opposing region. The chapter further argues that the dissolution and the strength of regional parties in the country at the time was not a result of the underlying social differences in the country, but the way in which decentralization was structured. In demonstrating the argument, the chapter shows that although differences between Czechs and Slovaks were greater in the interwar period than in the postcommunist period, regional parties had a weaker presence under a centralized system of government. The chapter strengthens the case by showing that although in the postcommunist period differences between the two Czech Lands of Bohemia and Moravia were as great as those between Czechs and Slovaks, parties competed in both Czech Lands and incorporated Moravian interests for autonomy into their agendas, thereby, averting the same result as in Slovakia.

Keywords: decentralization; federalism; ethnic conflict; regional parties; Czechs; Slovaks; Czechoslovakia; Moravia

Chapter.  7766 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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