Idealism versus realism in institutional choice: Explaining electoral reform in Poland

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Abstract

One of the most significant, yet not fully explained, institutional decisions in post-Communist Europe was Poland's adoption of a moderate proportional representation system for the 1993 general election. This article argues that the new electoral system was not entirely based on any normative notion of democratic governance, and that the adoption did not immediately follow from the assumptions of rational choice theory. The 1993 electoral system was largely attributable to patterns of interaction between political parties that had become known, been practised and accepted since the fall of Communism. In reality, the eventual system was built up incrementally in several stages, but the Polish way of 'muddling through', albeit contentious and protracted, seems to have worked well for the Polish people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-88
Number of pages24
JournalWest European Politics
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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