Toward a Glorious Revolution

In the closing article, Gábor Attila Tóth offers a twofold argument. First, despite all its shortcomings, the 1989 coordinated regime change is a unique success story in the region. It resulted in revolutionary changes in the constitutional system. Second, there is a need again for a peaceful, revolutionary establishment of legitimate government, but without a revolution as such.

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History with a Future? The Relevance of the 1989 Round Table Experience for Today

The experience of the Central European round tables has no specific relevance today, but it may be significant in the future. Not in a direct way of copying them and it would be unwise to frame any future political consultation as a being inspired by the 1989 round tables. Yet, if we look at the round tables’ essence, negotiating a peaceful transition with an outgoing power, charting a course between legality and legitimacy, the round tables can tell us something of remaining relevance.

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Causes and Consequences of the “Failure” of the GDR Central Round Table (Dec. 1989- Feb. 1990)

On one hand, I wish to give credit to the Central Round Table which is often seen as not having fulfilled its aspirations. Given the particular structural context in which the round table was operating, it was remarkably successful and achieved more than could have been anticipated given its weak legitimacy and power base, in particular, providing a sense of stability and moral guidance in tumultuous times. On the other hand, my thesis is that it was unable to exert a major influence on what was to follow, neither in the short-term or long-term.

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Round Table: An Adept Device for Constitutional Politics

The year 1989 entered history books as the year of the peaceful dismantling of Soviet-type regimes in East-Central Europe. These regimes did not collapse because of classical revolutions; the process ultimately involved round table negotiations between delegates of the undemocratic powerholders and the democratic opposition. Today the people in the Visegrád countries are divided in their opinions regarding the round tables, not least because of the widespread questioning of its achievements.

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