The unique municipality structure in the Czech Republic is one of the most interesting research topics in the Czech political space. The large number of municipalities with less than 1,000 or less than 500 inhabitants causes differences between Czech municipalities. There are differences in economic factors, differences in the development of municipalities, among other. All of these differences are discussed by experts, researchers and politicians in term of the efficiency of the smallest municipalities. The term ‘efficiency’ is used as the benchmark for a successful or an unsuccessful government. This research evaluates the argument of efficiency presented by Deborah Stone (2002). This argument was applied to the case of Kraj Vysočina, one of the regions with the largest number of the smallest municipalities in the Czech Republic. We analysed the selected argument of efficiency – economies of scale. Based on our quantitative analysis we have confirmed that evaluating municipalities through the prism of the economies of scale argument is not a good measurement of the efficiency of municipal government. The argument of efficiency is more complex and we cannot view it only in economics terms.
Drawing on the experiences of Czech municipalities that cannot perform their local government role due to grave indebtedness, this article seeks to identify other European countries where municipalities may be facing existential problems. It can be assumed that grave indebtedness is not the only potential threat to communities in Europe. One aim of this study is, thus, to identify other possible threats to municipalities and provide specific examples. My goal, among other things, is to start a scholarly discussion about endangered municipalities and bring this phenomenon into the realm of political science. My methodology uses qualitative research and content analysis to identify potential threats that could in extreme cases wipe out European municipalities. To obtain data about specific endangered municipalities in Europe, I rely on snowball sampling, a method used by researchers to identify potential subjects who may be hard to locate. My findings identify five potential threats to European municipalities, which I divide into two groups: common and less common. I highlight the locations of endangered municipalities and those where problems are pending as well as the groups of municipalities in the greatest peril from individual threats. I also highlight potential political impacts. My approach uses empirical case studies to model possible scenarios. Based on this analysis and the experiences of specific endangered municipalities, I outline six general forms of endangerment and eight different courses of municipal endangerment.
This article describes attitudes of V4 states (Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland) and their activity in the fight against terrorism, and specifically in the fight against the so-called Islamic State that has appeared in 2014. In addition to applying role theory, the main aim of article is to define the roles that V4 states perform. The second aim is to give an explanation of their (non-)participation of active involvement in general in the fight against terrorism within the EU. The results showed that roles differ and only Poland is active in the fight against IS, however rest of V4 took part in passive support that relies on their size, budget and also political will. These results were observed in main statements made by policymakers of each particular state that have been done through content analysis.
In October 2018 Senate elections were held in the Czech Republic. In the capital city of Prague, 41 candidates – both party members and independents – contested for the votes of the electorate of four districts. The goal of this article is to analyse the electoral campaigns which were conducted within these four districts in the online sphere of the social media site Facebook. Through complementary quantitative and qualitative methods, this text focuses its attention on the communication of the candidates themselves, but also on the reactions of the electorate in the environment of social media. Employing qualitative content analysis of the topics addressed by the candidates, sentiment analysis of user commentaries and quantitative analysis of posting frequency and followership, this article examines whether the candidates who led an active personalised campaign were more successful than the candidates who communicated with the public only sporadically and with less personalisation. The aim is to explore how the campaigns of successful candidates were conducted and to accentuate that social media is becoming more important in the campaigns of individual candidates, but that they are not a panacea for non-partisan candidates without an established supporter base and financial resources.
The paper refers to the social innovation of participatory budgeting which has become a very popular tool for stimulating citizen participation at the local level in Poland. It focuses on the major cities, defined as capitals of the voivodeships or regions. Based on the data concerning 2018 participatory budgeting editions in the eighteen cities, it describes the funding, organisation of the process, forms of voting and voter participation as well as the nature of projects selected and implemented. According to the amended Act on the Local Self-Government, organisation of participatory budgeting will only be obligatory for Polish cities from 2019. Despite that fact, it has already become quite popular and broadly applied in local communities. However, citizens’ participation and involvement in the process seems quite low, suggesting a need for experience sharing and improvement of the initiative. Also, project selection reflects the influence of various social groups within urban communities, rather than assisting groups which are at risk of marginalisation.
Path dependence is a concept often used by scholars in fields such as economics, economic geography, political science, law and sociology to explain recent developments. In this article, we apply the concept to support the hypothesis that the democratic revival after 1990 in the examined Central and Eastern European countries and related set-up of local (self-) government institutions were more influenced by an earlier path taken than by a more recent one. For this purpose, we undertake a content analysis of relevant legal documents and apply an in-depth comparative approach.
The 2016 Elections to the National Council in Slovakia are considered a political earthquake. Social Democrats lost 34 out of 83 seats, the Euro sceptic party SaS almost doubled its representation, the nationalistic Slovak National Party returned to the Parliament with 15 seats and three „newcomers” entered the Parliament: the (neo) fascist Kotleba – ĽSNS, conservative We are Family (SME RODINA – Boris Kollár) and centrist #Network (#Sieť). Changes in composition raised questions about party system institutionalization and opened a debate about challenging trends within the Slovak party system including fragmentation, aggregation, high volatility, anti-systemness or alternation. Moreover, it again opened the issue of party newness and consolidation. This article deals with current trends in the context of the 2016 elections and tries to examine the current state of the Slovak Party system.
The aim of this article is to present the most important voices on the role of the US in the international order during Donald Trump’s presidency in the debate held in the Foreign Affairs. The authors assume that Foreign Affairs expresses the opinions of the most crucial organisation bringing together the elites of American foreign affairs – the Council on Foreign Relations. The paper proposes a hypothesis according to which there is a difference of opinion due to the adopted theoretical perspective regarding Trump’s role in the destruction of the liberal international order among the American power elites, even though they agree that the ideological conflict between democratic and authoritarian countries around the world is escalating.
China’s role as an emerging aid provider and the concept of a social plan in Africa has led to polarised responses in the West. Several say that this “productivist” strategy is much less determined by the concepts of citizenship, legal, social rights, and much more regarding building functions. The purpose of this study is to examine whether the welfare and social policy ideas that characterize Chinese aid in Africa are influencing traditional donors and becoming global. The article utilised a qualitative study that has two main components. First, a comprehensive content analysis of over 50 key Sino-African, Chinese and Western policy documents from 2000 (since cooperation between Beijing and African countries first became institutionalised). Second, there were semi-structured interviews with Chinese, African and Western stakeholders in Addis Ababa, (Ethiopia), who was directly involved in the relationship between China and Africa and related development issues. The result of documentation and interview analyses show that there are currently significant differences between Chinese and Western approaches. China has made much stronger and more explicit links between development aid and economic activity than most Western donors. The aid is usually implemented through specific projects rather than broader programs or policies.