The centrality of legalism, constitution-making and human rights in the radical changes in 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe has been widely noticed and analysed. One can notice, however, a certain tendency in prioritizing the external and modernizing (or catching-up) dimensions in democratization and constitutionalization (e.g. Magen and Morlino 2009; Morlino and Sadurski 2010). These include, for instance, the adherence to an apparent European standard (as displayed by the constitutional traditions in Western Europe, in particular those of Germany and France) as well as the adaptation process to the European integration project (in terms of EU accession, conditionality and the acquis). Comparative attention for local constitutional and democratic traditions and experiences tends to be less upfront. In this, there is a risk of downplaying some of the complexities related to local factors and tensions in the process of democratization, and exaggerating the positive effects of the adoption of ‘tested’ institutions and structures. Legality, the rule of law, and constitutionalism as available in longstanding democratic societies are often seen as the extreme opposite of the reality of the communist regimes, and hence are logically taken as the core of the postcommunist transformation process. But potential risks and dilemmas in the building of democracy are not always suf¼ciently appreciated.