My first book “Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe” has now been published

My first book Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe has now been published with Palgrave Macmillan as the inaugural volume in its new series ‘Palgrave Studies in Presidential Politics‘. The book is based on my award-winning PhD thesis that I completed at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies in 2010-2015 and which received the ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics.

The book examines the use of presidential powers in Central and East Europe between 1990 and 2010, focusing on presidential vetoes and the formation of governments. Based on original quantitative data and unique insights into presidential politics gathered through a large number of elite interviews, it provides one of the first comprehensive comparative studies of presidential activism and veto power in Europe.

“Despite the prominence of presidential powers in academic debates, until now only few scholars have tried to analyse and explain how presidential actually use them. My study attempts to fill this gap in the literature and add to our understanding of presidential politics in parliamentary and semi-presidential systems.”

The book has already received praise from established scholars. Ferdinand Müller-Rommel, Professor of Comparative Politics at the Leuphana University Lüneburg, highlights the originality and scientific rigour of the study: “The book is an inspiration for scholars of comparative government. It has set a new approach of excellence for those seeking to understand presidential activism in democracies across the globe.”

The book is available as hardback and ebook – you can download a flyer here. I would of course also be grateful if you would recommend it to your library. Last, you can watch a short book trailer summarising the book’s key features below.

Jean Blondel Prize award ceremony at the 45th ECPR Joint Sessions, Nottingham

From 25 to 27 April 2017 I am at the 45th ECPR Joint Sessions at the University of Nottingham. On Wednesday, 26 April, I will officially receive the Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics.

Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.

The prize committee highlighted that “the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.”

A revised version of my thesis will be published as a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan as Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe in May 2017.

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

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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 (philipp.koeker@canterbury.ac.uk) 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.

Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics

ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize Winner 2016

I am honoured and excited to announce that my PhD thesisVeto et Peto: Patterns of Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe has been awarded the Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016 for the best thesis in politics!

Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration). The central criterion for this prize is that, with suitable amendments, the thesis would make an outstanding book, addressing central themes in the relevant subfield(s) of the discipline. The prize comes with a cash reward of €1,000 and is thus one of the most highly endowed dissertation prizes worldwide.

The prize committee highlighted that the thesis makes an important contribution to studies of presidential activism. It suggests an innovative research approach to explain this activism and, moreover, it is elegantly constructed and the dissertation is a pleasure to read.

At the same time, I am proud to announce that a revised version of my PhD thesis, titled ‘Presidential Activism and Veto Power in Central and Eastern Europe‘ will be published as a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan in 2017. Until then, you can still download and read my original thesis via the UCL Discovery platform. An extended summary is available from my blog presidentialactivism.com.

PhD thesis shortlisted for ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize 2016

My PhD thesis ‘Veto et Peto: Patterns of Presidential Activism in Central and Eastern Europe’ has been shortlisted for the ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize. Since October 2003, the ECPR Press has awarded an annual PhD prize named after Political Science Professor Jean Blondel for the best thesis in politics (including not only Comparative Politics but also other fields such as International Relations, Political Theory and Public Administration).

Each full ECPR member institution (currently 288) can nominate only one dissertation (usually after an internal contest/selection procedure) which, with revision, could be potentially published as a monograph.

Initial selection is based on a 15-20 page abstract; no more than 5 nominees are included in the short list and then submit a full copy of their thesis for evaluation by the committee. The winner will be announced by 30 September 2016.

You can read my thesis here. I am currently working towards publishing it as a monograph.

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.

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