Too Ideal to Be a Parliament: The Representative Assemblies in Socialist Czechoslovakia, 1948–1989
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Gjuričová offers a provocative perspective by bringing the neglected topic of parliaments in Communist dictatorships in discussion. Using the case of Czechoslovakia between 1948 and 1989, she demonstrates that the institution of elected legislatures had formally never ceased to exist; yet in practice, the electoral and legislative process remained under full control of the Communist Party. The chapter provides a summary of the Communist doctrine on parliaments and confronts it with the practical aims and functioning of the Socialist ‘representative assemblies’ in different periods, such as in the Stalinist 1950s, during the Prague Spring reforms in 1968, in the perestroika period, and during the 1989 revolution and the democratic reforms. It concludes that Socialist legislatures seemed almost ideal, in fact ‘too ideal to be real parliaments’.