CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

Crafting Democracy through Constitutional Change: Comparing the Recent Cases of Romania and Serbia in the Context of EU Incentives

Caitlin L. Wood, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Henry Teune

Date of this Version: 20 May 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.

 

Second Mentor: Rudra Sil; Winner: Leo S. Rowe Prize for Best Thesis in Comparative Politics/International Relations

Abstract

Current trends in the enlargement process of the European Union offer a virtual laboratory through which to gain insight into the mechanics of constitutional change. In particular, the Central and Eastern European countries, including Romania and Serbia, serve as great lenses through which to view the processes involved in consolidating democracy through constitutional dynamics. Even though EU accession may offer a set of incentives to these and other recent candidate countries, pro-democracy constitutional change aimed at meeting EU standards still requires a push from domestic coalitions within national political systems. By establishing a comparative framework by which to examine domestic coalitions in case studies of Romania and Serbia, this thesis offers three claims regarding constitutional change toward democracy: Firstly, that countries enacting constitutional change from within existing, consolidating democratic systems are dependent on a core group of political elites forming a coalition and embracing the cause of constitutional reform. Second, that message framing and communication on intra-governmental and public levels makes a difference in the outcome of constitutional referendums, an issue that is especially relevant in countries looking to reform constitutions to align their governance with EU standards. And finally, that institutional openness to change is indispensible to countries looking to reform constitutions in line with the Copenhagen Criteria within existing, consolidating democratic systems.

Discipline(s)

Comparative Politics

Suggested Citation

Wood, Caitlin L., "Crafting Democracy through Constitutional Change: Comparing the Recent Cases of Romania and Serbia in the Context of EU Incentives" 20 May 2009. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania, https://repository.upenn.edu/curej/103.

Date Posted: 26 May 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.

 

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