The Roundtable Talks and the Breakdown of Communism (Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe)

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9780226206288: The Roundtable Talks and the Breakdown of Communism (Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe)

In 1989 and 1990, Eastern European Communist regimes and opposition groups conducted a series of roundtable talks to peacefully negotiate the abolition of authoritarian rule and the transition to democratic governance. This volume documents that unprecedented process of national reinvention and constitution making.

These essays capture the historical circumstances of these countries—their traditions, customs, and the balance of influence between competing factions—that often took precedence over constitutional ideals. In five country-specific reports, senior scholars provide detailed accounts of the talks in Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic. Also included is an essay on the political factors underlying the failure of negotiations between reform groups and the Chinese regime, providing an illuminating counterpoint to the path taken in Eastern Europe.

This book is an invaluable resource for scholars of constitutional design and democratization and for specialists in Eastern Europe.

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About the Author:

Jon Elster is the Robert K. Merton Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. He is the author of a dozen books, most recently Local Justice (1992), and the editor of eight books, most recently, with G. Loewenstein, Choices over Time (1992).

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