Cabinet Reshuffles and Prime Ministerial Performance in Central and Eastern Europe

Prime ministers rely on the working of their cabinet ministers to be able to perform successfully – meaning to fulfil the tasks associated with their job. It is the ministers who develop policies and direct the bureaucracy in the government departments. They also provide advice and support for the prime minister in relations with other political actors, such as coalition parties and parliament. From this perspective, every replacement of a minister is costly for the prime minister. However, incompetent or self-interested ministers may also undermine the prime minister’s work, making it beneficial for prime ministers to replace certain members of cabinet.  To date, the effects of cabinet reshuffles on prime ministerial performance have not been systematically explored so far. In our recent publication in Government and Opposition, we address this research gap.… Read More Cabinet Reshuffles and Prime Ministerial Performance in Central and Eastern Europe

Literature review: Knowledge Is Power: The Staffing Advantage of Parliamentary and Ministerial Offices

Research aiming to understand how political parties operate internally often focuses on the dynamics between the party base and the elected party elites. These dynamics are coined by the ability of the extra-parliamentary party organization to control and influence its elites operating in the political process. Party bases aim to protect parties’ ideological principles and keep long-term political goals in the focus of day-to-day politics. The staff of parties as key factor shaping the power balance within political parties and its role and influence appears to receive increasing scholarly attention. As non-elected actors in the political process, staffers’ varying allocation to party office-holders have an influence on the internal balance of power of parties and are therefore an important object of study.… Read More Literature review: Knowledge Is Power: The Staffing Advantage of Parliamentary and Ministerial Offices

In the Name of Their Fathers: Political Masculinity and the Strongman Appeal in the Philippines

“The legacy of my father is what we hope will be clarified at last,” says Senator Imee Marcos, sister of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr., who, together with his vice-presidential running mate, Sara Duterte, were proclaimed winners by the Philippine Congress in late May 2022. The statement was made weeks after a much-polarized election season. Marcos, Jr. garnered 58 percent of total votes cast. He is the son and namesake of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr,. who ruled the country from 1965 to 1986. On the other hand, Sara Duterte claimed 62 percent of votes and is Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter and outgoing Davao City mayor. Their landslide victory is a first in the country where recent history shows that presidential and vice-presidential candidates win via a mere plurality of votes. In particular, Marcos, Jr.’s win stunned observers, wondering why a country that ousted his father nearly 40 years ago, brought the family back to power. For others, it repudiates the world-renowned 1986 People Power uprising that brought democracy back. Experts have offered several explanations for this outcome.… Read More In the Name of Their Fathers: Political Masculinity and the Strongman Appeal in the Philippines

Local preferences in candidate selection. Evidence from a conjoint experiment among party leaders in Germany

Political parties fulfill several important tasks in representative democracies. Selecting candidates for elections is one of them. In doing so, parties strongly influence how parliaments are composed and by which type of legislators the people are represented. Thus, when voters turn out on election day, a crucial decision has already taken place: Prior to the election, political parties have already selected the candidates which they found most suitable to run for office, thereby defining for whom voters can (or cannot) cast their votes. This makes candidate selection often even more important than the election itself (Rush, 1969: 4). Analyzing candidate selection is challenging as it is usually only observed which candidates were selected by parties. It is not known which party members wanted to become a candidate and based on which criteria the final candidates were selected from the pool of aspirants. To address this research gap, we conducted a conjoint experiment with 310 local party leaders in Germany to find out which candidate characteristics are evaluated as favorable or non-favorable. … Read More Local preferences in candidate selection. Evidence from a conjoint experiment among party leaders in Germany

The European Union on the agenda of regional parliaments – A men’s domain?

The EU (European Union) as a political actor and the policies it implements shape policy-making in the national and regional parliaments of its member state. In a sample of German state legislatures, we observe that MPs speak about the EU in one of ten speeches they deliver in plenum (own data, see below).[1] Whether the interests of women concerning European politics and policies are appropriately heard during such debates, did not yet receive any scholarly attention. This blog post engages with this research gap by answering the question: How does the sex of MPs shape how they speak about the EU?… Read More The European Union on the agenda of regional parliaments – A men’s domain?

Women’s Leadership in the European Parliament at the mid-term reshuffle

In January 2022, the internal mid-term elections of key positions in the European Parliament (EP) took place. As always, the reshuffle also included the appointment of key leadership positions: the EP bureau (i.e. the president and vice- presidents of the EP) as well as the chairs and vice-chairs of committees. These roles are prestigious since they are visible as well as desired by MEPs. In this blog post, I explore how these reappointments affected women’s leadership positions in the EP. The EP is particularly interesting to study since it is often considered a role model of gender parity. It is explicitly committed to gender equality and fares better in terms of women’s representation (currently 39.3 percent) than the national parliaments in the EU member states. If the EP indeed provides a friendlier environment for women politicians than other parliaments, we should also see more women rising to leadership positions than in national parliaments. I aim to uncover the level of gender equality by investigating women’s vertical mobility and thus their presence in the EP bureau and amongst committee chairs.… Read More Women’s Leadership in the European Parliament at the mid-term reshuffle

The Return of Old Boys’ Politics in South Korea?

On 9th March, Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party (PPP) was elected as the next president of South Korea in the closest election since the country’s return to democracy in 1987. A political novice, Yoon rose to be the presidential nominee of the major opposition party in only several months after his resignation from the post of prosecutor-general in January 2021. His popularity came from the image of a principled prosecutor who was against political power during his tenure. He became a symbol of change in existing politics to those disillusioned with the ruling party. Given the consistently high support for change of government and Yoon Seok-yeol in opinion polls, Yoon’s victory did not come as a surprise. What was surprising instead was the very small margin of victory, just 247,077 votes. The narrowly won election means that half of the people did not support Yoon, and the national division, a chronic problem in South Korean politics, has become even more evident. Various scandals and mudslinging were rife throughout the election period, and the people were sharply divided. Without clear policy competition and vision for the future, the driving force for mobilization of votes between the camps for and against regime change determined the outcome of the election. Consequently, how to unify the deeply divided people is the new government’s biggest challenge.… Read More The Return of Old Boys’ Politics in South Korea?