One of the basic characteristics of the East European political system is its meticulous adherence to some of the structural and formal aspects of democracy. Aware of their lack of legitimacy and intrinsic democratic essence, the political regimes in Eastern Europe painstakingly go through the motions of demonstrating several procedural and ritual institutions of real democracy, such as constitutions, general elections, and parliament. However, whereas in true democratic regimes these institutions strengthen the democratic character of the state, protect human rights, and guarantee some form of popular participation in decision making, in Eastern Europe they serve a double purpose: to “prove” the democratic character of the regime and to strengthen the dominance of the communist party by purporting to show that this dominance is based not on power alone but also on some ostensibly democratic practices.