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Insights into intra-party decision-making in Latvia’s political parties

Abstract

This article examines the decision-making processes within political parties in Latvia. Two important variables have been chosen for analysis: 1) policy formulation (which actors are involved in the elaboration of election programs), and 2) candidate selection (how parties create their electoral lists). A survey of Saeima (Latvia’s parliamentary body) deputies indicates that party board members have the most say in deciding which individuals to include on electoral lists and which policies to pursue; financial supporters seem to have almost no impact on parties’ internal decision-making processes.

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Party positions on the European union in the Baltic states: do they compete? Do they mirror voters’ positions?

Abstract

This paper aims to determine Lithuania’s, Latvia’s, and Estonia’s parties’ positions on the European Union (EU) and to ascertain whether these party positions mirror their voters’ positions on the EU. Analysis suggests that parties in this region have rather varied positions on the EU, with the exception of hard-Eurosceptic views, which are absent in Baltic states’ party systems. This paper also indicates that parties in the Baltic states tend to mirror, with some exceptions, their voters positions on the EU. This suggests that there may be additional factors determining parties’ positions regarding the EU in the Baltics.

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The quantitative and qualitative analysis of public administration reforms in post-communist countries

Abstract

In this article we describe the adoption and execution of public administration reforms in Central and Eastern Europe between 2008 and 2013, as well as examine whether post-communist countries differ from other groups of European countries in terms of the substance of reforms and their implementation process. Instead of following popular Western administrative theoretical frames, we adopt the policy process approach. We focus on the role of policy actors during reform policymaking and implementation at the level of policy subsystems. More specifically, we employ the rational-comprehensive and garbage can perspectives to understand the reform processes in the post-communist region. Our research is based on the statistical analysis of survey data and two case studies of reforms initiated by the 2008-2012 Lithuanian government. The article concludes that countries in Central and Eastern Europe share some common characteristics: they focused on the issues of civil service and public or administrative services, their reform policy was often formulated on a top-down basis, and its execution often lacked adequate capacities. Despite a rational reform façade in these countries, the implementation of governance change appears to be quite erratic, as anticipated in the garbage can perspective. This can have negative consequences on the effectiveness of public policy, continuing to generate public distrust in post-communist state institutions.

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When states lose territory: Georgia‘s post-2008 adjustment

Abstract

In this article I analyse how Georgia, as a political entity, coped with the de facto loss of two of its territories: Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The process by which Georgia lost these territories started in early 1990 and reached its final phase in 2008 after the Georgian-Russian war. This article explores how Georgia adjusted to these losses without ever acknowledging its loss of the two territories, demonstrating a perfect example on how the normative territorial structure of an international system works. The analysis focuses on the crucial role of time in the process of the de facto territorial changes and examines how Georgia, in adapting to territorial losses and through its own actions, actually strengthened its separation from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

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Canadian Federalism in Design and Practice: The Mechanics of a Permanently Provisional Constitution

Abstract

This paper examines the interaction between constitutional design and practice through a case study of Canadian federalism. Focusing on the federal architecture of the Canadian Constitution, the paper examines how subnational units in Canada actually compete with the central government, emphasizing the concrete strategies and tactics they most commonly employ to get their way in confrontations with central authority. The evidence affirms that constitutional design and structure make an important difference in the tactics and tools available to subnational units in a federal system, but that design is not fully constraining: there is considerable evidence of extraconstitutional innovation and improvisation by governments. Furthermore, changes in practice initiated by Canadian subnational actors have produced changes in the allocation of national and subnational authority that are plausibly characterized as constitutional in magnitude. The paper concludes that the design of the Canadian federal system may inadvertently undermine its capacity to stabilize itself at any particular point of constitutional evolution, making it ‘permanently provisional.’

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The Canadian Living Tree Doctrine as a Comparative Model of Evolutionary Constitutional Interpretation

Abstract

This paper starts with a general contextualisation of how Canadian constitutional law acquired an important role in global constitutional conversations in recent decades. It then considers, in particular, the well-known Canadian Living tree doctrine as a model of evolutionary constitutional interpretation, and argues that it is a relevant case study for our purposes since it is able to precisely link the ‘history, evolution, influence and reform’ of constitutional law in a comprehensive doctrine. The doctrine's comparative influence will be analysed in particular: the Living tree is especially relevant, since its comparative influence is traceable both in the work of courts that are historical participants in transnational judicial conversations, and courts that are new players in the game.

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Constitutional Judges and Secession. Lessons from Canada … twenty years later

Abstract

In constitutional theory, the referendum is an instrument that allows for the expression of the popular will in government decisions and through which people are asked to vote directly on an issue or policy. Over the last decades, the referendum has been the instrument used by minority groups to claim their independence supported by popular will. This paper examines trends in constitutional jurisprudence on the issue of independence referendums. The birth of this constitutional trend can be found in the 1998 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference Re Secession of Quebec. The principles developed therein have been further explored in two recent cases, issued by the Italian Constitutional), and by the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal in the latest decision of the Catalonia saga (Judgment no. 114/2017).

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Franchises Lost and Gained: Post-Coloniality and the Development of Women’s Rights in Canada

Abstract

The Canadian constitution is to some extent characterised by its focus on equality, and in particular gender equality. This development of women’s rights in Canada and the greater engagement of women as political actors is often presented as a steady linear process, moving forwards from post-enlightenment modernity. This article seeks to disturb this ‘discourse of the continuous,’ by using an analysis of the pre-confederation history of suffrage in Canada to both refute a simplistic linear view of women’s rights development and to argue for recognition of the Indigenous contribution to the history of women’s rights in Canada.

The gain of franchise and suffrage movements in Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century are, rightly, the focus of considerable study (Pauker 2015), This article takes an alternative perspective. Instead, it examines the exercise of earlier franchises in pre-confederation Canada. In particular it analyses why franchise was exercised more widely in Lower Canada and relates this to the context of the removal of franchises from women prior to confederation.

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Immigration and Federalism in Canada: beyond Quebec Exceptionalism?

Abstract

The paper focuses on Canadian Provinces’ role in migrant selection. After an asymmetric approach, that benefited only Quebec, the federal government granted devolutionary powers in migrant selection to the other Provinces as well, moving towards de facto asymmetry. This process has proved to be successful over the years, but recently the federal government has reacted, recentralizing some aspects of immigration policy. This does not apply to Quebec.

This policy change may suggest that, although immigration federalism may be grounded on reasons other than the need to accommodate linguistic or ethnic claims, it remains the case that the former are “weaker” than the latter, and are more subject to pressure from the central government.

This is also confirmed by looking at the mechanisms through which intergovernmental agreements have been translated into law. Unlike the Quebec case, immigration’s devolution in relation to the other Provinces has occurred through administrative delegation of powers from the federal government. This permits the federal government to exercise some form of political pressure in order to realign the Provinces’ discretionary choices.

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In Memoriam: Prof. Alessandro Pizzorusso
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