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Abstract

The majority of comparative analyses of family policy have been oriented towards western European countries and only very few have included Baltic and eastern European countries. The aim of this paper is to analyse family policy in Baltic countries in European comparison about ten years after regaining independence, in 2002, and in 2010. Family policy is divided into two categories for analysis: 1) support for families from around the birth of a child until the first birthday of the child, pronatalist policies; and 2) child well-being policies, support for the family when the child is older. All policy data are standardised according to the relative wealth in the particular country. Results demonstrate that after ten years of country specific family policy processes, Lithuania developed a very specific pronatalist family policy type compared with Estonia and Latvia. In 2010, Estonia and Latvia also obtained a more pronatalist approach, but the Baltic countries did not belong to any one particular crystallised family policy group.

Abstract

This article discusses the causes and potential consequences of the high legislative turnover in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the period from 1990 onwards. The main findings from the subjectrelated literature are being confronted with the data on the Baltic parliamentary recruitment. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the path dependence (length of the previous non-democratic regime) and the supply-side volatility are the most convincing explanations for the high turnover among Baltic legislators.

Abstract

Restoring their statehood in the early 1990s, Estonia and Latvia established parliamentary republics, while Lithuania opted for semi-presidentialism. The paper is a case-oriented comparative study explaining this difference with the Lithuanian “exceptionality” in focus. Part of the answer is differences of interwar constitutional history: while Lithuania and Estonia had to cope with the legacy of three constitutions each, Latvia inherited only the parliamentary Constitution of 1922, because its dictator Karlis Ulmanis did not bother to constitutionalize his rule. Another part is differences in the balance of power during the time of extraordinary politics when constitutions were made. The alternation between the presidential and parliamentary phases of semi-presidentialism and the “perils of presidentialism” did manifest repeatedly in the Lithuanian post-communist politics, while Estonia and Latvia did know next to nothing about them, except for the “Zatlers episode” in Latvia in 2009–2011. The infamous Rolandas Paksas’ impeachment in 2003–2004 and controversial features in the performance style of the Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė are important illustrations of the shortcomings of semi-presidentialism, which could be cured by Lithuania’s switch to the Baltic pattern of parliamentary presidency. However, as time goes on, the probability of a constitutional reform decreases in all Baltic States, mainly due to increasing acquis constitutionnel and habituation.

Abstract

This article intends to analyze how the term ‘populism’ is used in the Latvian public discourse, by examining the content of the largest daily newspaper “Diena” in three different time periods. As it emerges from the analysis, populism has gained a different meaning in the daily usage in contrast with the more established understanding conveyed by the academic literature. In the media, populism is used to a refer to wide range of politicians, different parties and policy initiatives from diverse ideological spectra. Most often, however, populism is employed to describe rhetorics or communication style whose primary goal is to attract public attention.

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyze the reasons for Rainis’ appreciation of the phenomenon he labels as the ‘basic class’. The Latvian writer attributes this concept to the members of society who provide the livelihood for themselves by doing mainly the manual labour. Although thus a praise for the proletariat is voiced, the reasons are more nuanced than the common Soviet interpretation allowed to see. Rainis sees the ‘Basic class’ as a crucial agent in the struggle for Latvian national emancipation. At the same time, the article seeks an answer to the question why, according to Rainis, bourgeoisie is reluctant to fight this struggle.

Abstract

This article explores the small new member states at the EU ‘frontline’ in their efforts to upload their geographic preferences in the EU foreign policy. It starts by reviewing the preferences of Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Slovenia. Next, it compares how they pursued these preferences in the EU. Third, it indicates their uploading success. Finally, it notes that these countries, despite their ‘double disadvantages’, moved closer toward ‘small state smart strategy’, including compromise-seeking behaviour, persuasive deliberation, lobbying, and using coalitions. While their uploading success has been mixed, their preference projection in the EU foreign policy has been visible.