La Démocratie par le droit
Democracy through law
After 1989, Poland peacefully evolved from an ossified single-party regime into a multiparty democracy in the space of a few years. Does that make it a model of democratic transition?
Running counter to mythical narratives, this book demonstrates how a small number of parties came to win a new political monopoly in the country of the powerful Solidarnosc union, and how they established a limited democracy and "partyocracy" on the ruins of authoritarianism.
Focusing on the way in which reconciled partisans and adversaries of the fallen regime have used the law to develop democratic institutions and regulations over a 25-year period, the author reveals a paradox that is central to political life in Poland. Parties have become the main path for access to the political game, whilst remaining entities that lack credibility and even legitimacy. This explains the success of the Law and Justice party (PiS) and the Civic Platform (PO), the two parties that have dominated political life in Poland since the mid-2000s.
Based on a long-term study and a close knowledge of the field, the author has developed a unique and innovative approach to the logics of democratic construction and regime change.
Jérome Heurtaux is a lecturer in political science at Université Paris-Dauphine, and a member of IRISSO (UMR 7170). He has taught and worked at the University of Warsaw coordinating training workshops for research in social sciences (EHESS), and as a director of studies at the Centre Michel Foucault d'études françaises. With Cédric Pellen, he published 1989 à l’Est de l’Europe. Une mémoire controversée (Aube, 2009) and with Frédéric Zalewski, Introduction à l’Europe postcommuniste (De Boeck, 2012).