Poland as a young democracy is supported by extensive experience of mature democratic systems. Poland is still seeking reasonable and effective solutions regarding its electoral system. The right for electing the representatives of authority bodies is one of the fundamentals of democracy. This right entitles citizens for active public participation through expressing their support (votes) for candidates, which will respectively represent their voters in certain institutions. Polish electoral law, which regulates the local self-government elections is very controversial. The existing legal rules have been changed many times since 2011. Among the subjects being discussed are electoral campaigns, and candidate registration rules and organization of elections. Frequent changes in the electoral law result in misunderstandings and an unwillingness to participate in elections. Their effect is low voter turnout and a large number of invalid votes. Regardless of the above, it is worth to consider, why the Electoral Code was prepared so chaotically and without any further discussion? Why before the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament and municipalities planned for 2014 it was not possible to be assured about the electoral regulations, which were the subject of numerous changes?
The Baltic people of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia gained recognition with their successful use of a cultural tool, singing folkloric songs, to protest collectively against their common Soviet oppressor in the summer of 1988, preceding the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rational-choice theorists have argued that large rebellious movements are paradoxical because the larger the number of potential revolutionaries, the greater the leadership, participation, and coordination problems they face (Olson, 1971; Tullock, 1974). This paper investigates Estonia’s Singing Revolution and illustrates how ethnic Estonians used their shared cultural beliefs and singing traditions as a tacit, informal institutional solution to overcome the collective-action problems with organizing and participating in mass singing protests against the Soviet regime. The paper goes further to extend the standard rational-choice framework and to include a more dynamic, entrepreneurial-institutional perspective on socio-cultural change by accounting for the role of cultural leaders as cultural entrepreneurs, a subset of institutional entrepreneurs. The success of Estonia’s Singing Revolution can be ultimately attributed to leadership in the form of cultural entrepreneurship going back to pre-Soviet Estonian times. The revived legacy of ancient shared beliefs, folkloric practices, and singing tradition represented the necessary social capital for the Estonian people to voice collectively shared preferences for political and economic governance during a window of constitutional opportunity. Mikhail Gorbachev’s Glasnost, a policy aimed to improve Soviet formal institutions by fostering freedom of speech and political transparency, also provided a context propitious for the Singing Revolution because it lowered the perceived costs of participation in the rebellious singing and opened a window of opportunity for political change.
Matilda Hellman, Maija Majamäki and Pekka Hakkarainen
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Rasmussen, C. E. (2011). The autonomous animal: Self-governance and the modern subject. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press.
Reinarman, C. (2005). Addiction as accomplishment: The discursive construction of disease. Addiction Research and Theory, 13(4), 307
Csaba Lentner, László Nagy, László Vasa and Szilárd Hegedűs
The aim of this paper is to analyse legal and financial dynamics of the self-governance in three countries of the Visegrad Group: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. The paper explores compliance with the European Charter of Local Self-Government, financial independence and operational features of self-governance. The paper provides an overview of the regulatory environment that was set up for the local government in the Visegrad countries, examines the powers by local government, and the degree of its financial independence. The financial aspects of self-government are compared, and compliance with major fiscal rules is examined.
The present strategic disarray of the western democracies is both a by-product of the West’s failure to grasp the moral-cultural dimension of the end-game of the Cold War and a reflection of the crisis of civilizational morale that has beset western Europe in recent decades. Thus it is important to revisit the distinctive character of the Revolution of 1989/1991 in central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. That dramatic transition in European politics was born from many factors, including the re-armament of the West under the leadership of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. But the political Revolution of 1989/1991 was also the result of a revolution of conscience in central and eastern Europe, in which the reclamation of national identity and culture eventually gave rise to “soft power” tools of resistance that the hard power typically deployed by communist regimes in the face of dissent could not match. Lithuania, which embodied the oft-ignored truth that a tenacious national culture can, over time, produce democratic political change, is thus in a position to remind the West that freedom is never free; that the dignity of the human person, human rights, and the rule of law must be affirmed culturally by a robust civil society if they are to be defended politically and militarily; and that moral relativism is an insecure foundation on which to build, sustain, or defend the institutions of democratic self-governance.
Slobodan Arsovski, Michał Kwiatkowski, Aleksandra Lewandowska, Dimitrinka Jordanova Peshevska, Emilija Sofeska and Mirek Dymitrow
The condition of the environment is one of the most fundamental concerns of cities worldwide, especially when high levels of pollution and environmental destruction exert immense impact on people’s quality of life. This paper focuses on Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, which often tops the charts as the world’s most polluted city. Despite associated problems such as congestion, ill health, and premature death, Macedonia’s scarce resources are instead spent on controversial projects, such as ‘Skopje 2014’, involving creating a national identity through massive and extremely costly constructions of neo-classical government buildings, museums and monuments. The aim of this paper is to compare the situation of Skopje to environmentally oriented activities conducted in several Polish cities and to discuss the possibility of their implementation in Skopje. Considering the scale and scope of Skopje’s environmental problems, the paper offers some priorities for action, including solutions that emphasize institution building, technical input and self-governance. It also highlights a number of economic, ecological, and socio-cultural contradictions involved in the process of achieving sustainable development.
Jarosława Belowska, Grażyna Dykowska, Zofia Sienkiewicz and Joanna Gotlib
Introduction. To work safely, knowledge of law is crucial for midwives who should be familiar with the midwife’s rights and duties as well as their professional responsibility. Aim. Assessment of knowledge of midwives about their professional responsibility. Material and methods. A total of 103 MA Midwifery students of the Medical University of Warsaw, including 55 working and 48 not working as midwives. A diagnostic poll, original anonymous questionnaire, 25 close-ended questions, 8 openended questions. Statistical analysis: STATISTICA 10.0, Mann-Whitney U test, p<0.05. Results. Seventy-one percent of the study participants had knowledge of the binding provisions of law and 83% considered this kind of knowledge as necessary in their professional activity. Twenty-four percent of the total did not know any legal regulations. Thirty percent was not familiar with the Nurses and Midwives Act. Only 52% of the study participants were knowledgeable about the legal protection of midwives and indicated the protection established for public officers. Forty-six percent of the total said that the Act on Professional Self-Government of Nurses and Midwives of July 1st, 2011 regulates the issue of self-governance. As many as 30 study participants knew that membership in the self-governing body of midwives is obligatory. Conclusions. Knowledge of nurses about professional responsibility under amended provisions of law is insufficient and does not improve with experience as a midwife. Due to the fact that new acts on professional responsibility of midwives were implemented in Poland beginning in January 1st, 2012, it is advisable to extend qualifications and knowledge of midwives in order to improve their knowledge of professional issues. Midwives should constantly update their knowledge of legal regulations on their profession
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