Leadership election between crisis and innovation in Greek party politics
4th International Graduate Student Conference
Among political institutions, there is no doubt that political parties have dominated the political and social life during the 3rd Greek Republic. Even though many scholars have argued that parties constitute strong organizations that have invaded the state and the society, we believe that, in terms of organization, they constitute weak structures ruled by strong leaders. We will argue that leadership elections constitute sensitive moments generating crises in the two major political parties, PASOK and New Democracy, which are even more intense once leadership election denotes a moment of innovation. Our main hypothesis is that when leadership election is marked by an innovative process, which has been extraordinarily introduced, it makes allowances for maneuver, rendering the crisis inevitable. This is certainly related to the low level of institutionalization and the predominance of the leaders or certain party actors vis-à-vis the party structures. In that case, the intra-party debate focuses mainly on the rules that should be followed and less on the candidates’ programs. That said, the context and the intra-party power correlations play a crucial role in the rules that prevail. The constant change in the rules of the game causes new crises, which the party hardly overcomes once the new leader imposes his authority on the organization. Because the political actor is always stronger than the institution, the old and new structures are weak, which re-generates the crisis.
4th International Graduate Student Conference in Modern Greek Studies, 2012-05-04, Hellenic Studies Center, Princeton University, NJ