Tag Archives: veto power

Why dictators veto: Presidential vetoes in Kazakhstan and Russia – New publication in Democratization

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.

Invited talk on presidential vetoes in authoritarian regimes at the University of Kent, 5 April 2017

On Wednesday, 5 April 2017, I will give a talk about my research on presidential vetoes in authoritarian regimes in the seminar series of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent. The paper, which I recently presented at the BASEES Annual Conference at the University of Cambridge, deals with the question why presidents in authoritarian regimes still (need to) use their veto power and tests its proposition on original data from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

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 (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.