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Executive power in Central and Eastern Europe in comparative perspective

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Constitutions
Democratisation
Government
Institutions
Parliaments
Veronika Oravcová
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
Veronika Oravcová
Department of Political Science, Comenius University Faculty of Arts
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Abstract

The proposed paper deals with executive power in Central and Eastern Europe in comparative perspective. It focuses mainly on the interaction between presidents and prime ministers, eventually their governments. As the topic of such interactions is too broad, the paper focuses mainly on formal constitutional relations which captures one part of the complex reality. The aim of the paper is to cover primarily constitutional intra-executive conflicts in terms of their type and density. Thus, the purpose of the paper is to explore which executive competencies are crucial in challenging legal framework, in what type of political system those could be found (whether in parliamentary or semi-presidential as it is generally expected), if they are rather diminishing over time by building the constitutional tradition and what is the role that plays political orientation of the political actors involved in intra-executive conflicts. From the methodological point of view, the paper starts from the well-known debate about the character of semi-presidential systems with the focus on the power division between directly elected president and prime minister. As it is theoretically assumed, shared executive power can open the space for intra-executive conflicts. However, these can appear also among indirectly elected presidents and prime ministers. That is why the sample of the countries is adapted to such methodological design. It will cover constitutional intra-executive conflicts of political actors in post-communist countries that have either parliamentary or semi-presidential systems. The countries that were chosen for comparative analysis are following: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. All the countries share communist past and nowadays take part of free and democratic countries and are members of the European Union and NATO. The paper covers the period of about 25 years, from the 1990s when first post-communist constitutions entered in force. The basic institutional and legal framework that establishes the competencies of the president and prime minister is constitution. The proposed paper identifies and interprets constitutional intra-executive conflicts by following steps: firstly, it defines the executive competencies for making possible the comparative analysis. Following that it identifies and analyses the constitutional conflicts using case studies and expert surveys. Such empirical material bring together conclusions about type of constitutional intra-executive conflicts and their configuration in terms of political system and density in time.