Civic Engagement in Local Politics in Central Europe
|Civic Engagement in Local Politics in Central Europe
|Year of Publication
|Potluka, O., Kalman J., Musiałkowska I., & Idczak P.
|The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government
|Richard Kerley, Joyce Liddle, Pamela T. Dunning
Civic engagement and civil society participation in political decision-making is important for efficient and sustainable public policies. However, this behaviour is difficult to achieve and maintain in countries such as post-socialist societies that have passive social attitudes and low levels of general trust. This chapter describes the development and current character of local political systems, decentralisation and civic engagement in four countries in Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. It concentrates on civil society, direct and indirect forms of political participation, the development of civil-society organisation advocacy and citizen opinions about their likelihood of influencing policy. It highlights the low general trust and social capital, passive attitudes, and low voter turnout in these countries compared to other countries in Europe. These features are a legacy of the communist past and are attributable to the negative socioeconomic consequences of the transition process and disillusionment about democratic development. As a result, the development of civil participation in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia has been slower than in other parts of Europe.