Executive-Legislative relations in Post-Communist Europe

There are two main methods for appointing the executive, the one used in parliamentary systems, the other one in presidential systems. According to the parliamentary method the people first elects the legislature, which, in turn, appoints the executive. In a pure parliamentary system the executive, furthermore, can remain in office only as long as it enjoys the support, or confidence, of a majority in the legislature. This requirement is often referred to as the parliamentary principle. According to the presidential method separate popular elections are held for appointing a president and, thereby, the rest of the executive. In a presidential country, there are thus two main types of popular elections, those for electing the executive and those for electing the legislature.

As for methods for appointing the members of the legislature there are, again, essentially two types of methods. First there are the majoritarian methods using single-member constituencies and giving, in each constituency, the mandate to the candidate who, according to some set of rules, gets most votes. Second there are the proportional methods, which use multi-member constituencies and distribute the mandates to the parties in proportion to their votes.

Now, by combining the methods for appointing the executive, and the legislators, we get the following four types of constitutions.

Parliamentary constitutions with proportional elections.

Parliamentary constitutions with majoritarian elections.

Presidential constitutions with proportional elections.

Presidential constitutions with majoritarian elections.

The former communist countries shared the same type of economic system before the collapse of communism. Communism rule in Eastern and Central Europe, Mongolia, and the former Soviet Union ended around the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. Governments in these countries abandoned communist policies and initiated economic reforms. The scope of the reforms and decline of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) have varied significantly among post-communist countries. The economic reforms have been deeper and more comprehensive and economic decline less severe in Central European countries than in the former Soviet Republics, with the exception of the Baltic States.

All communist countries attempted to implement industrialization, collectivization, and mass education policies and institute the state control over the economy in the form of central planning and the state ownership of enterprises (Kornai, 1992).

Communist economic planning involved both micro and macro levels. The communist state controlled output, prices, and wages of enterprises and individuals. Economic planning on the macro level included macroeconomic aggregates, such as national income, aggregate wages, and output in different sectors of the economy. Hungary, Poland and Yugoslavia deviated from this model in some aspects. Limited market reforms were implemented in Hungary before the fall of communism. Private farming remained dominant in the agricultural sector in communist Poland and Yugoslavia. Enterprises had a greater autonomy of economic management in Yugoslavia.

Communist parties held a monopoly of power in communist countries. This monopoly helped to keep together multi-ethnic communist states: the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia. The Warsaw Pact dominated by the Soviet Union suppressed conflicts among and within the communist countries. However, communist rule was established in Mongolia and the Soviet Union, with exceptions of the Baltic States, Western Ukraine, Western Belarus and most of Moldova, about three decades earlier than in other countries. In contrast, communist rule ended and market economic reforms started a few years earlier in Central European countries than in the former Soviet Union.

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation was established in 1991 in the framework of a comprehensive legal reform initialed by the democratic wing of the Russian parliament. It was absolutely new phenomenon in Russian legal history, which should supposedly to become an important step on the way to the state ruling by law. Thirteen members of the 15 judges bench were elected the by the Congress of Peoples Deputies to limited life tenure (until age 65) with the remaining two seats to be filled later. After the nomination in November 1991, the judges elected the Chairman of the Court. Valery Zorkin – a former professor of the Police Academy – became the first Chair.

Institutionalists believe in the formative role of social and political institutions in shaping the present and future characteristics of new democracies. Institutions can be invented, reinvented, modified, transplanted, copied or simply maintained with regard to the countrys past traditions or the existing international context.

The Russian presidential system in light of the recent comparative politics literature on presidentialism, much of which concludes that presidential political systems are.

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