chapter  2
21 Pages

The Czech parliament on the road to professionalization and stabilization

ByZDENKA MANSFELDOVÁ

The aim of this chapter is to show the course of development taken by the Chamber of Deputies during two decades of the Czech Republic. The data we have about MPs allow us to identify how new parliamentary elites were formed and changed, and the recruiting patterns that developed. We shall try to validate a hypothesis that there was a shift among MPs, the MPs moving from being political amateurs to professional politicians and experts. The official data concerning MPs contained in parliamentary registers is quite limited, giving us only information about the characteristics necessary for our analyses. Thus, in addition to a database developed for the EurElite project, we have also used data obtained from surveys of the Czech parliament. Though these surveys do not cover the entire set of MPs, they are sufficiently representative to allow us to formulate some conclusions.1 The period we analyze covers six terms of the Czech parliament, starting with the 1992 elections. The result of the first elections was the formation of a representative board that became the first parliament of the independent Czech Republic. In some cases our analysis covers the period of 1990 to 1992, i.e., the period after the first free elections. The period between 1990 and 1992 was crucial for the creation of democratic institutions and the basic crystallization of the political spectrum. This period is analyzed when there is a need to illustrate the rupture caused by the political change and the period during which new trends were initiated.