Political and Economic Arenas: The Institutions of the Third Republic
To democratize the Polish political system, a whole set of new institutions and legal provisions had to be introduced to replace those inherited from the communist period. The political science literature on institutionalism suggests designs for democratic construction which seems most appropriate to a country at a particular stage of development and with a particular kind of social and ethnic makeup. After the 1989 roundtable agreement had been concluded, drafting a new constitution to reflect the proposed political changes in Poland became an urgent task. Whereas the communist system had only one legislative body, the Sejm, the Third Republic—emulating both Western and internar Polish models—established two legislative chambers. Designing the economic institutions of a free economy was as great a challenge as crafting a political democracy. The chapter describes how a wide variety of institutions have shaped Poland's political and economic life after 1989.