DECENTRALIZATION POLICIES. A COMPARATIVE INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Keywords:decentralization, public policy, ideology, party system, foreign policy
Every modern state has a territorial division of institutions between a national and a peripheral level, and the relationship between center and periphery has generated over time sharp political disputes. For the ex-communist countries, these disputes have been not only a subject of professional debate and political controversy, but also an object of a public policy: the policy of decentralization. The goal of such a policy is not to improve the existing structures, as in stable countries, but to establish completely new relations between institutions that did not exist a few years ago. The first goal of this paper is to show the differences among the systems of local government in three former communist countries: Poland, Romania, and the Republic of Moldova. The second goal of this paper is to explain the divergent trajectories of these policies. Three major factors are used to explain the differences between these countries: the evolution of internal politics, especially the evolution of the party system; the ideology of the ruling party/parties; and the foreign policy orientation of the country.
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