This is the first volume in a series of books on democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe. The series focuses on three major aspects of democratic consolidation in Eastern Europe: institutional engineering, transnational pressures and civil society. This first volume analyses constraints on and opportunities of institutional engineering in Eastern Europe: to what extent and how elites in Eastern Europe have been able to shape, if not manipulate, the politics of democratic consolidation through institutional means. The aim is to contrast a set of democracy theories with empirical evidence accumulated in Eastern Europe over the last ten years. The volume tries to avoid complex debates about definitions, methods and the uses and misuses of comparative research. Instead it tries to establish what has really happened in the region, and which of the existing theories have proved helpful in explaining these developments. The volume starts with a presentation of conceptual and comparative frameworks, followed by in-depth empirical analyses of the thirteen individual countries undergoing democratic consolidation. The first conceptual and comparative part contains three chapters. The first chapter explains what institutional engineering is about and describes our experiences with institutional engineering in former transitions to democracy. It also focuses on the import and export of institutional designs. The second chapter analyses the utility of constitutions in the process of democratic consolidation. The third chapter compares constitutional designs and problems of implementation in Southern and Eastern Europe. The empirical case studies deal with the following countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Poland. And the conclusions evaluate the enormous impact of institutions on politics in Eastern Europe and show how central constitutional designs are to the institutional engineering in the societies undergoing transitions to democracy.