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ERIC Number: ED345994
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 29
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Reflections on the Establishment of Constitutional Government in Eastern Europe.
Varat, Jonathan D.
Establishing constitutional government involves not simply the creation of a written document that purports to create the political structure of a nation and guarantee rights to its people, but "constitutionalism" in the sense of meaningful and effective adherence to constitutional norms of democratic organization and the protection of individual liberty, even when the cost of that adherence is sacrifice of what seems temporarily expedient. An examination of the nature of constitutional democracy focuses on antimajoritarian limits to the power exercised by democratic political processes. The conditions in Central and Eastern Europe in which constitutional creation would take place are surveyed. The hardly ideal conditions include the need for fundamental political and economic reforms, ethnic and cultural tensions, a lack of established political parties, and potential military insecurity. Despite potential barriers, the momentum for establishing constitutional government existed throughout the region and it was supported by most of the world. Additional elements that are central to establishing a well-functioning constitutional democracy are discussed, some of them specific to federal systems, some vital to any constitutional democracy whether federal or unitary. Among provisions of the U.S. Constitution that are critical to one or both types of democracy are measures mandating cooperation among constituent states as well as protection of their integrity; freedom of movement; the Supremacy Clause mandating that the federal constitution shall be the supreme law of the land; an independent judiciary; control of military organizations; and the right to amend the Constitution. (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Europe (East)