Semi-presidentialism and democratisation in Poland
McMenamin, Iain (2008) Semi-presidentialism and democratisation in Poland. In: Elgie, Robert and Moestrup , Sophie, (eds.) Semi-presidentialism in Central and Eastern Europe. Manchester University Press, pp. 120-137. ISBN 9780719075353
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Polish semi-presidentialism evolved from a pacted transition between the leadership of the communist regime and the Solidarity opposition movement. The mechanics of semi-presidentialism, as well as its effect on democratisation, depend upon the constitution, the party system and the personality of the president. Poland has had three semi-presidential constitutions, a variety of relationships between president and government as well as government and parliament, and two very different presidents. In the early years, the absence of the conditions for stable semi-presidentialism had a negative effect on democratisation. Later on, conditions were more supportive, and semi-presidentialism began to play a more positive role. Before the introduction of semi-presidentialism in November 1990, Polish elites had already established a firm consensus on democracy, which was buttressed by consensus on the economic system and international relations. Therefore, the conflicting legitimacies generated by semi-presidentialism delayed but did not prevent, or seriously threaten, democratic consolidation in Poland.
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