ON FEBRUARY 15, the same day that the prime ministers of the Visegrad Group (V4) held their summit celebrating the group’s 20th anniversary, the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) released its most recent publication, offering a comprehensive overview of the 2010 national elections held in each of the V4 countries while analysing the impacts that might flow from the changes in governments.
Visegrad Elections 2010: Domestic Impact and European Consequences, in English, was edited by IVO’s Oľga Gyárfášová and Grigorij Mesežnikov. The individual texts were written by British, Slovak, Czech, Hungarian and Polish authors and most of the texts are extended and updated versions of papers presented at an international conference convened by IVO in July 2010 and entitled Free Elections 20 Years After: Splendour and Misery of a Central European Dream.
The publication analyses the results of the 2010 parliamentary elections in Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic as well as Poland’s presidential election in the same year and explores their impact on regional cooperation and the foreign policy of the V4 countries.
“For the Visegrad Four countries these are the elections held on the threshold of the third decade of democratic development after the collapse of the communist regimes,” the editors wrote in the annotations to the book. “However, after two decades of transformation and reforms the societies in central European countries face a certain democracy fatigue accompanied by a populist and nationalist backlash.”
The volume begins with a comparative introductory study of two decades of free elections in central Europe.
Part One then presents four individual country case studies offering insights into the background and implications of the elections on democratic development in the domestic context (stability of democratic institutions, democratic political culture, guarantees of political and minority rights).
Part Two focuses on Slovakia’s parliamentary elections and Part Three examines the impact of the Visegrad elections on the countries' foreign policies.
The authors examine how the new governments and authorities affect the role of the V4 countries as EU members, how they contribute to the European discussion and to EU reforms, their role in the EU’s enlargement and neighbourhood policies and last but not least how the new governments are shaping Visegrad regional cooperation.
“Does Central Europe still exist? Are recent political trends common for all the Visegrad countries? What will be the impact of recent elections on mutual relations within the V4 group, especially on the relationship between Bratislava and Budapest? Prominent Slovak scholars together with their colleagues from the neighbouring countries offer answers to these and other questions,” Jacques Rupnik, a political scientist, wrote in his notes to the book.
21. Feb 2011 at 0:00