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By Michal Illner (auth.), Harald Baldersheim, Michal Illner, Hellmut Wollmann (eds.)

Der englischsprachige Band führt ein in die Lokal- und Regionalpolitik der mittel-osteuropäischen Reformländer. Der Band beleuchtet aktuelle Probleme der Kommunal- und Regionalpolitik in den Ländern Mittel-Osteuropas, einschließlich Russlands. Zentral sind Fragen der Beziehungen zwischen zentraler, regionaler und lokaler Politik- und Verwaltungsebene, der lokalen Demokratie und Partizipation sowie Fragen der Verwaltungsmodernisierung.

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As policy field and operation to be studied the issuance of building permits by the local authorities in charge and their application of the pertinent legal provisions were selected, because the legislation by the federal and the liinder levels on the issuance of building permits can be seen as a (particularly) instructive example of the all but "paradigmatic" rupture and transformation in the legal setting which the East German local actors and practitioners are faced with. In order to gain a "measuring rod" and criteria for assessing the performance of the East German administrative units and actors an "intra-national" ("German-German") comparison was pursued by including both East German and West German local administrative units in the sampie of "cases".

That, as a persistent reaction to the political misuse and "state and party capture" of socio-political organisations and of "coercive volunteerism" under the Communist regime, such societal networks have faUen apart after 1990, while the East Germans have turned to be less disposed and ready to engage in self-organised socio-political activities than West Germans, inc1uding the initiation of, and participation in local referendums. 46 Hellmut Wollmann Procedures to "recall" mayors by local referendum The procedure to "recall" the mayors by local referendum has so far been practised particularly in the East German Land Brandenburg, while in the other (East German as weil as West German) Länder is has been hardly employed.

In the "second ballot" which takes place if none of the candidates gains more than 50 percent of the votes in the first ballot and puts the two candidates with the best results against each other, the turnout tends to even slightly higher (in the most recent "second ballot" in Brandenburg on March 17,2002, for instance, the turnout was between 40 and 49 percent). Rebuilding local democracy and administration in East Germany 43 Loeal praetiee in loeal referendum (see table 4) While, as was argued earlier, in formal-legal terms the introduction of loeal referendums has made speetaeular advanees in the loeal govemment setting both in East and West German Länder sinee the early 1990s, in practical terms referendum initiatives as well as popular votes on referendums have so far oceurred quite rarely.

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