This volume continues a new series entitled "How They're Governed". Directed by Carlo Fusaro, the series aims to explore the political and institutional culture of different countries in order to understand how they're governed and organised. The entries are written by experts in comparative constitutional law and adopt an interdisciplinary approach. The series is intended for: students and scholars eager to develop their knowledge about a specific country; people who for professional reasons have relationships with foreign countries and need to be familiar with their institutional arrangements; curious travellers; anyone concerned about democracy and its future. Each volume shares the same basic structure: a concise geographical and economic overview; elements of history, especially as regards the development of the constitution; political context since the end of World War II; power distribution (who does what and who decides); acknowledged rights and freedoms and the corresponding safeguards; essential readings and useful websites.
The Czech Republic is the only ex-Communist country that has a solid tradition of parliamentarian government, party stability, respect for pluralism and minorities, as well as strong business roots. After their Communist digression and velvet divorce from their Slovak brothers, the Czechs have proudly reclaimed their deserved status in Europe, discarding the revanchiste spirit that has featured prominently in the nationalist stances of many new EU member states, such as Poland. The country enjoys a balanced institutional system, stable economic growth, and a sound civic outlook, as well as a reinvigorated, modern cultural heritage (Bohemia is the home of legal scholars such as Jellinek and Kelsen). With these resources, a small country, strategically located in the heart of Europe, faces its new European future while continuing to embrace its constitutional roots.
Angela Di Gregorio teaches Comparative Public Law at the University of Milan.