Prime Ministerial Tenure in Central and Eastern Europe: The Role of Party Leadership and Cabinet Experience

  • Florian Grotz
  • Till Weber
Part of the Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft book series (VGPO)


After transition from communist rule, the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) faced major political challenges. Governing coalitions had to be built in a context of fragmented and fl uid party systems, executive politics had to be organized professionally in view of exogenous problem pressure, and a new political elite had to be formed within the process of democratic consolidation. The performance of CEE countries in coping with these challenges has been studied from two main perspectives, one focussing on party systems, the other on elite professionalization. A connection between the two that has been largely neglected in the literature lies in the office of the Prime Minister (PM). PMs are often recruited from among powerful party officials and experienced cabinet members. This accumulation of political resources in one person puts the PM in a unique position to lead the way toward organizational consolidation and executive stability at the same time. This chapter analyses the selection of PMs in CEE and their survival in office as a function of their value for the nominating party and its coalition partners. Quantitative patterns and qualitative cases show that selection and survival of PMs are governed by two context-sensitive goals – leadership performance and risk avoidance. In post-electoral contexts of cabinet formation, strong party leaders are the preferred candidates. However, such contexts are not the norm in many CEE countries, and oftentimes cabinet replacement brings about the rise of experienced ministers to PM office. Importantly, each type of leader then performs best in the context that is more likely to support their initial selection.Th is suggests a clear rationality of executive politics under often very unclear circumstances.


Prime Minister Party System Party Leader Coalition Partner Parliamentary Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Vergleichende Regierungslehre; Institut für PolitikwissenschaftHelmut Schmidt Universität/Universität der Bundeswehr HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceBaruch College, City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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