Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains

skolica 26 5Zagreb, May 27, 2015 – The IEC and the Academy hosted lectures of professors Goran Čular and Luka Ribarević yesterday as a part of the study programme „Governance in institutions of the state".

Professor ÄŒular from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb analysed the effects of introducing direct elections of prefects, majors and heads of municipalities. Professor underlined that the reform of the electoral system on the regional and local level was initiated in line with the general tendencies in Europe and elsewhere. The main goals of the reforms were to strengthen the political responsibility on the local level and ensure the stability of the executive branch of the local government in the context of political instability in the representative body. During the discussion, several positive and negative impacts of the reform were identified, though as the most critical issue, students highlighted the ability of the opposition in the representative body to obstruct the executive government and provoke early elections by refusing to approve the budget.

For the second part of the event, professor Ribarević held his final lecture on the History of Political Ideas. Within his cycle of lectures, professor presented the work of five most important authors of modern political thinking: Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes, Montesquieu and Rousseau. Ribarević took the students on a journey through the history of development of the understanding of politics and the state as we know it today, concluding with Montesquieu and Rousseau, who greatly influenced the structure of modern political systems- that is liberal democracies. In this sense, the final lecture represents an end to a story that began with the establishment of the state, continued with the „civilizing" of state power by liberal values such as limited government and rights of individuals and ended with Rousseau, and the idea of sovereignty that lays exclusively with the people, which was the precondition of democratization.

We would like to thank professor Ribarević for his lectures within the study programme of the IEC and the Academy. We are confident that students had an exceptional opportunity to get to know the foundations of modern political thinking, which will enable them to better understand political doctrines of which they will learn more during the second semester.

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