From Elections to Democracy: Building Accountable Government in Hungary and Poland

From Elections to Democracy: Building Accountable Government in Hungary and Poland

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Susan Rose-Ackerman
Cambridge University Press
Edition: 1st Edition, 4/4/2005
EAN 9780521843836, ISBN10: 0521843839

Hardcover, 286 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

The countries of Central Europe in the first round for admission to the European Union have all established constitutional, electoral democracies and market economies. However, much remains to be done to achieve fully consolidated democratic states. This study documents the weaknesses of public oversight and participation in policymaking in Hungary and Poland, two of the most advanced countries in the region. It discusses five alternative routes to accountability including European Union oversight, constitutional institutions such as presidents and courts, devolution to lower-level governments, the use of neo-corporatist bodies, and open-ended participation rights. It urges more emphasis on the fifth option, public participation. Case studies of the environmental movement in Hungary and of student groups in Poland illustrate these general points. The book reviews the United States' experience of open-ended public participation and draws some lessons for the transition countries from the strengths and weaknesses of the American system.

1. Policymaking accountability and democratic consolidation
2. Alternative routes to policymaking accountability
3. The legacy of the past
4. External accountability and the European Union
5. Oversight
6. Decentralized political accountability
7. Public participation in policymaking
government procedures
8. Civil society groups
9. Environmental advocacy organizations in Hungary
10. Student and youth organizations in Poland
11. Democratic consolidation and policymaking accountability.

' ... a beautifully clear, meticulous work of scholarship ...' Political Science Quarterly