Call for Papers: Political leaders and leadership in illiberal democracies, semi-democratic and authoritarian regimes

Call for Papers: Political leaders and leadership in illiberal democracies, semi-democratic and authoritarian regimes

ECPR General Conference in Hamburg, 22-25 August 2018

This panel will be part of the section “Aftermath and Outputs; Political Elites, Leaders and their Consequences” organised by the ECPR Standing Group on Elites and Political Leadership.

Panel description
Regimes that diverge from the standards of liberal/Western democracy still largely present a black box for students of political leadership and comparative government. One the one hand, research has recently rejected the traditional assumption of the executive (cabinet or president) as an omnipotent force and highlighted the complex nature and power dynamics in non-democratic regimes. On the other hand, the backsliding of previously (almost) fully democratic countries – exemplified most clearly by the cases of Hungary and Poland – has created new ‘illiberal democracies’ that require new analytical tools and approaches for analysis.

This panel invites contributions that shed light on the politics of political leaders and elites in illiberal democracies, semi-democratic and authoritarian regimes – either in the form of case studies or from a comparative perspective.

Deadline and contact
Please send paper proposals (max. 250 words + 3-5 keyword) for inclusion in the panel proposal by Monday 5 February 2018 to Philipp Köker (

Presentation at BASEES Annual Conference, University of Cambridge

This weekend I am attending the Annual Conference of the British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). On Saturday afternoon, I will present a paper on the use of presidential vetoes in authoritarian regimes as part of a panel on executive politics in the former Soviet Union.

Panel: Executive politics in the former Soviet Union
Chair: Ben Noble (University of Oxford)

  • Fabian Burkhardt (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich) ‘The institutional presidency and the power vertical: regime stabilization by institutionalization of the presidential administration in the Russian Federation 1994-2012’
  • Ellie Martus (University of New South Wales) ‘Executive involvement in the Russian environmental policy process’
  • Ben Noble (University of Oxford) ‘Ministers with the Initiative: Russian Ministries as Actors in the Law-making Process’
  • Philipp Köker (Canterbury Christ Church University) ‘Presidential veto power in authoritarian regimes’
  • Julian Waller (George Washington University) ‘Building a Proper Presidential Majority: Federal and Regional Executive Preference for Russian SMD Candidates’

Call for Papers: Panels on presidential veto power & leadership in EU crises – ECPR General Conference 2017


After the success of my panel on presidential vetoes at the ECPR General Conference in Prague this year, I am once again organising panels as part of the Presidential Politics section for the ECPR General Conference 2017 in Oslo (6-9 September).

Please email paper abstracts (max. 300 words) for inclusion in the panels to  Philipp Köker ( by Monday, 6 February 2017.

1. Presidents and legislation: Policymaking consequences of presidential veto power

The presidents’ legislative veto has traditionally attracted great scholarly attention and scholars have been able to identify common predictors of its use across political systems. This research now provides the basis for a shift of scholarly focus from explaining general patterns of presidential veto use to more bill-specific theoretical and statistical models of presidential involvement in the legislative process. This panel invites submissions that push the boundaries of current research on presidential vetoes and presidents’ involvement in legislation (e.g. through judicial review requests or legislative initiatives) irrespective of methodological (quantitative/qualitative) or theoretical approach. Both case studies of individual countries and/or specific mechanisms as well as comparative research and theoretical papers are welcome.
Full call for papers under this link.

2. The role of presidents in the recent EU crises

Throughout the recent European crises, presidents have emerged as exceedingly vocal actors in a number of countries where they normally do not play a leading executive role. Starting with the Eurozone crisis in 2008 and the subsequent austerity policies, presidential action has been provoked by a number of international factors. The aim of the Panel is to analyse the context and consequences of these interpellations and interventions in which presidents – despite often limited in formal prerogatives – have gone beyond established roles and constitutional practice in a bid to influence the management of European crises at national and international level. This panel welcomes contributions that look at cases individually or comparatively and embed their analyses in the wider literature on political leadership, agenda-setting and European Union studies.
Full call for papers under this link.

Political Methodology Specialist Group Conference, 27 June 2016, London

Today Allan Sikk and I are presenting at the first annual conference of the Political Methodology Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association at University College London. In our presentation, we discuss the challenges of using candidate lists and candidate registers for parliamentary elections as (difficult) big political data (abstract here). You can read more about our research at

EPSA Annual Conference in Brussels, 23-25 June 2016

This week I am at the 6th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA) in Brussels. I will present my paper ‘Risk or Reward: Party strategies and extra-parliamentarian electors in German presidential elections, 1949-2012’. In it I examine the inclusion of electors that do not hold legislative office into the state delegation to the Federal Convention (view the abstract here). More information as well as my original data will be available via in due course.

UACES Workshop ‘Crisis and Innovation in the European Union: Beyond Populism and Managerialism’

Crisi and innovation in the EU - warwick workshopOn 13 May I will take part in the workshop ‘Crisis and Innovation in the European Union: Beyond Populism and Managerialism‘ at the University of Warwick. The of this interdisciplinary workshop is to explore the impact of ‘crises’ in their material and ideational forms, upon EU institution and policy-making dynamics. Emphasis is also put on identifying policy responses focusing on ‘innovation’ as a strategy. The workshop is funded by the Academic Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES), the British Academy and the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS).
I will present Allan Sikk‘s and my work on corruption and candidate turnover in Central and Eastern Europe and discuss self-regulating mechanisms of parties faced with increasing corruption.

The full workshop programme can be downloaded here.

[Update 18/07/2016] A report from the workshop is now available from the UACES website.

Presentation at 66th PSA Annual International Conference, 21-23 March 2016, Brighton, UK

2016 PSA Annual Conference Programme _cover pageAt this year’s annual international conference of the Political Studies Association (PSA) in Brighton (21-23 March 2016), I will present a paper co-authored with Allan Sikk titled ‘Rejuvenation or renomination? Corruption and candidate turnover in Central and Eastern Europe‘. On the basis of our large-scale data set of electoral candidates in Central and Eastern Europe, we test two competing hypotheses on the influence of rising corruption on turnover on  party lists in 8 CEE democracies during the last 20 years. We find that increased levels of corruption lead to a decrease in candidate turnover among governing parties. Turnover in other parties in other parties is best explained by party size.

The paper can be downloaded here.

Call for Papers: “Presidents and Veto Power in Comparative Perspective” – Panel at the ECPR General Conference in Prague, 7-10 September 2016

This year I am organising a panel on presidential veto power in comparative perspective for the section “Presidential Politics. Powers and Constraints in Comparative Perspective” organised by the ECPR Standing Group on Presidents at the ECPR General Conference in Prague, 7-10 September 2016. I am still looking for contributors to the panel, so please get in touch if you would like to contribute.

Panel description

Presidents are now the most common type of head of state in democracies around the world. Although the role of the presidency varies greatly from country to country, even the least powerful presidents possess some power that allows them to influence the political process. The common and most frequently used power is the right to veto. The majority of presidents around the world can return bills to parliament for reconsideration, and the mere threat to use their power can bring work on bills to a halt.
Yet there is great variation in stipulations and customs governing both the formal and informal veto power of presidents. Some presidents merely dispose of a block veto that can be overridden by a simple majority, while others can suggest changes to bills and impose their will on the legislature by the ways of super majorities required for overriding their veto. Even without being formally vested with such constitutional prerogatives, presidents have found ways to significantly delay or prevent the implementation of parliamentary or governmental decisions.
Apart from a wealth of studies on U.S.-American presidents, presidential veto use tends to be understudied both empirically (e.g. veto use and its determinants) and theoretically (developing new or advancing existing approaches). The aim of this panel is to shed light on and examine different facets of presidential veto power within and beyond constitutional stipulations. It presents comparative papers and country studies on presidential veto power in Latin America and the USA, Western and Central Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
It particularly welcomes proposals for comparative papers, irrespective of the chosen methodological approach (quantitative or qualitative). Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • the determinants of presidential veto use
  • the development of veto use over time
  • the consequences of formal and informal veto power and its use
  • vetoes and amendatory observations to legislation
  • new or improved theoretical models of presidential veto power


Please email your abstracts (300 words) for inclusion in the panel to Philipp Köker (p [dot] koeker [at] by Friday, 5th February 2016.

Presentation at ECPR Joint Sessions in Warsaw

Group photo with workshop participants

Group photo with workshop participants (I am in the second row, third one from the left).

From 29 March to 2 April, I participated in the ECPR Joint Sessions 2016 at the University of Warsaw, Poland. I presented the paper “Replacing the Rascals? Corruption and Candidate Turnover in Central and Eastern Europe” (co-authored with Allan Sikk) as part of the workshop “The intricacies of accountability: horizontal, vertical and diagonal mechanisms to combat corruption”. The session, coordinated by Marcia Grimes, focused on the impact of accountability mechanisms and brought together a number of researchers from the FP7 ANTICORRP project as well as a number of other specialists. A longer summary of the workshop can be read on the official ANTICORRP website.