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The Evolution and Gestalt of the Czech Constitution



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Kapitola v knize
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Právnická fakulta

Popis This chapter provides a condensed look at the Czech constitutional Gestalt. It argues that in order to understand it, it is necessary to go beyond the text of the 1993 Czech Constitution and view it also as a historical, political and social phenomenon. More specifically, it shows that the Czech constitutional system has been built on liberal democratic values and on the legacy of the first Czechoslovak Republic. The key institutions and the general constitutional design have followed well tested constitutional patterns and the early experience with the functioning of the new constitutional system lent themselves to optimistic interpretations. At the same time, this chapter identifies some dangerous subtones of the Czech constitutional development that are often neglected by constitutional law scholars. While the system still seems to be in a relatively good shape, its future is hard to predict and even the evaluation of constitutional-political and social developments within the last decade is an uneasy task. Even though the Czech constitutional landscape has not been subject to changes and challenges of the same magnitude as some of its Visegrad counterparts (Slovakia in the 1990s and Hungary and Poland in the 2010s), there are clear signs of its fragility and susceptibility to democratic backsliding. The reasons of the fragility do not lie in the structure of the constitutional system itself, but rather in the social underpinning of the key constitutional values. This makes Czechia a particularly interesting case as it is arguably an outlier among the Visegrad countries, but we do not know for how long.

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