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The naked emperor: prime ministerial leadership and core executive management in post-1974 Greece

Papadimitriou, Dimitris and Featherstone, Kevin (2009) The naked emperor: prime ministerial leadership and core executive management in post-1974 Greece. In: The Challenge of reform in Greece, 1974-2009: assessment and prospects, 2009-05-08 - 2009-05-10, New Haven, United States.

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In recent years much debate has centred on Greece's reform capacity. Despite the fact that the need for reform has been at the forefront of the political agenda for decades, successive governments have seen their proclaimed reform programmes frustrated and, more often than not, defeated by powerful domestic opposition. This apparent weakness in orchestrating and implementing reform has often been conceptualised by reference to the structural weaknesses of Greek public policy; amongst them: the distortions in the system of interest mediation (Mavrogordatos, 1988; Lavdas 1997); deeply-entrenched notions of statism (Pagoulatos 2005); partidocratzia (Liritzis 1984); the organisational and regulatory weakness of the Greek public administration (Spanou 2001); and an anaemic civil society that has been unable to produce and sustain reformist advocacy coalitions (Pollis 1987, Makrydimitris 2002). More recently Featherstone and Papadimitriou (2008), extending Tsebelis (1995), have also made reference to the 'Greek paradox', contrasting poor reform outcomes to the relatively few constitutional veto points of the Greek political system. Indeed the strong bias of the electoral system in favour of one-party governments, the relatively weak system of checks and balances provided by the Greek Constitution as well as the strongly centralised nature of the Greek state point to a system of governance where the Executive dominates. At the top of this system sits the Prime Minister whose formal powers, since the 1985 constitutional amendment, are amongst the most extensive in the European experience. Yet, at the same time, the existence of powerful informal veto-points (Immergut, 1992; Haverland, 2000) is acknowledged as blocking power and reform capacity. Despite its pivotal role for the process of domestic reform, the topic of Prime Ministerial leadership has escaped systematic scholarly attention. With only a few exceptions (for example, Sotiropoulos 2000), much of the existing literature has failed to go beyond descriptive legalistic accounts of formal competences or place the Greek case in a comparative perspective. Building on an extensive set of personal interviews and the comparative literature on leadership styles and core executive management (Peters, Rhodes and Wright 2000), this paper seeks to address this gap by focusing on three main themes: a) the evolution of formal Prime Ministerial powers since transition to democracy in 1974 and its effects on public policy making; b) the comparative examination of leadership styles of five PMs of the Metapolitefsi period (K. Karamanlis, Papandreou, Mitsotakis, Simitis, K. Karamanlis); and c) the evolution of management structures and strategic resources available to the PM in coordinating the work of the Cabinet (Ministerial Council) and managing the workload of the Office of the Prime Minister. By engaging in a theoretically informed manner with these issues we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the way in reform agendas are articulated, designed and implemented by the senior echelons of the Greek executive.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Hellenic Observatory
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 14:38
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2021 23:14

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