A new article of mine has just been published in Democratization. In it, I investigate the question why authoritarian presidents still (need to) use their legislative veto power. You can find the abstract below
Why dictators veto: legislation, legitimation and control in Kazakhstan and Russia
Why do authoritarian presidents still use their legislative power? Although recent studies have argued that authoritarian legislatures are more than “rubberstamps” and can serve as arenas for elite bargaining over policy, there is no evidence that legislators would pass bills that go against presidential preferences. This article investigates this apparent paradox and proposes a theoretical framework to explain presidential activism in authoritarian regimes. It argues that any bills that contravene constraints on policy-making set by the president should generally be stopped or amended by other actors loyal to the regime. Thus, presidents will rather use their veto (1) to protect the regime’s output legitimacy and stability, and/or (2) to reinforce their power vis-à-vis other actors. The argument is tested using two case studies of veto use in Kazakhstan and Russia over the last 10 years. The analysis supports the propositions of the theoretical framework and furthermore highlights the potential use of vetoes as a means of distraction, particularly in relation to international audiences. The article extends research on presidential veto power to authoritarian regimes and its findings contribute to the growing literature on the activities of authoritarian legislatures.
Read the full article here (behind paywall): https://doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2019.1678029
A Green Open Access Version will be available from the institutional repository of Leibniz University after the embargo period.
On 29 October, I attended a workshop on invitation by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in Shrivenham. The workshop was organised by the ‘Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre’ (DCDC), a think-tank of the UK MOD, to discuss a new draft strategy paper on future scenarios and diverse security challenges in the Baltic Sea Region arising from geopolitical developments, corruption, migration, energy supply, and innovations in technology. My UCL SSEES colleague, Dr Pete Duncan (Senior Lecturer in Russian Politics), and I were the only academics present.
The study was commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Defence which collaborates with the UK in the development of concepts and doctrine, yet it will eventually inform both Swedish and British policy-making in the areas of defence strategy, development and education of relevant staff. Apart from Philipp Köker and Pete Duncan as academic experts, the workshop was also attended by officials from the UK and Swedish MODs (including the incoming UK defence attaché for the Baltic states), representatives of different branches of the British armed forces, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Chatham House. The comments and the result of the discussions at the workshop will help DCDC to revise the paper and further develop it before it is released.
The final paper has now been completed and published on the DCDC website:
The DCDC was created in response to the 1998 UK Strategic Defence Review to develop a clearer and long-term vision of the operation of the UK armed forces. It draws on staff from all three Services as well as the Civil Service and is part of the Joint Forces Command. Since 2014, the DCDC cooperates with the Swedish MOD. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/development-concepts-and-doctrine-centre