This article investigates how ambiguous constitutional design affected president–cabinet relations and constitutional change in post-communist Poland and Hungary. Constitutional provisions related to the prerogatives of presidents and governments were frequently subject to political conflict during the 1990s. The power struggle in the two cases developed and consolidated along two distinct pathways. In Poland, failed attempts to modify the constitution initially stirred up and extended intra-executive conflicts. With the adoption of a new constitution in 1997 the struggle over power between president and council of ministers was finally settled. In Hungary constitutional court rulings were instrumental in the settlement of president–cabinet conflicts.

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