A Crisis of Constitutional Democracy in Post-Communist Europe: 'Lands In-Between' Democracy and Authoritarianism

International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 13(1): pp. 219-245, May 2015

27 Pages Posted: 10 May 2016

See all articles by Bojan Bugaric

Bojan Bugaric

University of Sheffield, Department of Law

Date Written: May 8, 2015

Abstract

Just ten years after their triumphant “return to Europe” in 2004, Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries are facing a very serious crisis of constitutional democracy. This crisis — which coincides with the Eurozone crisis — has a specific origin. This article will show that the rule-of-law institutions in these countries are less robust than in Western countries. In other words, Western democracies can cope more successfully with various attacks on their liberal institutions because their courts, media, human rights organizations, and ombudsmen have a longer and better-developed tradition of independence and professionalism. Conversely, where such institutions are weak and underdeveloped, as is the case in CEE, there is always the potential danger of a drift towards authoritarianism and “illiberal democracy.” As examples from Hungary and Slovenia show, even the most advanced CEE democracies are not immune to this backsliding. In a relatively short period of time, both countries regressed from consolidated democracies into two distinct forms of semi-authoritarian and diminished democratic regimes. Particular worrying is the ease with which this regression occurred

Keywords: Democracy, Authoritarianism, Central and Eastern Europe, Backsliding, Constitutional Democracy, Rule of Law

Suggested Citation

Bugaric, Bojan, A Crisis of Constitutional Democracy in Post-Communist Europe: 'Lands In-Between' Democracy and Authoritarianism (May 8, 2015). International Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 13(1): pp. 219-245, May 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2777180

Bojan Bugaric (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield, Department of Law ( email )

Bartolome House, Winter Street
Sheffield, S37ND
United Kingdom
+44 (0)114 222 6770 (Phone)

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