The Parliaments of New Democracies and the Politics of Representation
The new parliaments in the early postcommunist transition of Central and Eastern Europe are at the heart of both policy decisions and the institutionalisation of new democracies. The opportunities for legislatures to be active and influential in their political systems are probably much greater in new than in established democracies, for the external constraints, such as powerful executives and well-organised interest groups and parties, are not yet in place. Yet the capacity of parliaments to act responsibly are probably at their lowest, for the new members have not had the time to learn, nor the institutions time to develop, the complicated internal structures of political parties, procedures and committees. The paradox – the gap between high opportunity and low capacity – is experienced by all institutions of self-governance in new postcommunist democracies.
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