The only actor capable of restraining the government from directly within the parliament is the parliamentary opposition. In the case of the Slovak parliament, the opposition is not formally institutionalized, but it definitely has the capacity to become so. However, in Slovakia governments usually enjoy the majority in parliament. Thus, the restraining possibilities of the parliamentary opposition are limited. Nevertheless, this influence is not unimportant. This paper analyzes all the institutional opportunities of the opposition in the National Council of the Slovak Republic in the period 1994–2012. It focuses on the following institutional factors: capability of the opposition to influence the approval of any bill; amendments of Rules of Procedure; selection of parliamentary offices; confidence and no-confidence votes; parliamentary questions and interpellations; constitutional review, and referendum.
University of Groningen, Netherlands
The present article discusses the implications of ballistic missile defense systems for the stability and security of the Northeast Asian region. The paper aims to find out whether the ballistic missile defense systems contribute to the stability and security of the region, or are rather detrimental to it. A constructivist approach is utilized to analyze the problem. Relying on both strategic culture and historical memory, the paper analyzes how the ballistic missile systems of Japan are perceived by China, and whether they contribute to Chinese militarization.
Japan; China; ballistic missile defense; strategic culture; historical memory; Chinese security policy; Japanese security policy.
Masaryk University, Czech Republic
Distribution of resources is an essential part of politics and vast research has been done in this field. While the allocation of public money is primarily of an economic nature, the literature shows that political representatives tend to use it for rewarding their allies while punishing their rivals. In addition, allocated grants have the potential to increase the prospects of incumbents when seeking reelection. This paper elaborates on these expectations and it studies a governmental program of local grants in Slovakia in the period between 2004 and 2014. The results show that better access to resources is given to towns led by mayors with closer ties to the central cabinet. In coalition governments, however, this advantage is provided primarily to municipalities with mayors supported by the ruling party that directly controls the distribution. What is more, the subsidies are beneficial for mayors when seeking reelection. A greater number of grants awarded during one term or grants distributed at the end of the electoral cycle help local incumbents to an even greater extent. Hence the paper demonstrates that a program paid for by all taxpayers may operate as a mechanism fueled by political and partisan interests with an impact in the electoral arena.
Distributive politics; pork barrel politics; incumbents; local elections; Slovakia.