The East European parliaments are the best illustration of the tremendous discrepancy that exists in Eastern Europe between the formal existence of democratic organs and institutions and the nondemocratic reality, marked by the total inability of these organs and institutions to influence the decision-making process or even take a meaningful part in it. All East European constitutions explicitly provide that all legislative authority rests exclusively with elected parliaments or assemblies, that the parliaments have a crucial role in defining the basic rights and duties of the citizens and the state organs, and that all other state organs that may issue laws, regulations, decrees, ordinances, and directives (such as the presidium of the national assembly, the state council, the council of ministers, the individual ministries, and so forth) in fact derive their authority from the parliament. Yet the East European legislatures seldom do more than give rubber-stamp ex post facto endorsements and legal attestation of the executive (and other legislative) acts of other state organs. They play no active or at least meaningful part in formulating public policy, controlling the executive or influencing the country’s political life in any way. As in all other areas of life in Eastern Europe, parliamentary activity is completely dominated and controlled by the communist parties and is utilized for purposes that have little if anything to do with normal democratic practices. Although in recent years there have been several examples in Poland and Yugoslavia (to be discussed later) that suggest a certain deviation from the accepted practice in the activity of those parliaments, these examples were the exception to the rule and hardly changed the overall picture of parliaments controlled by the communist parties.