Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Prime Ministers in Greece: the paradox of power

Featherstone, Kevin and Papadimitriou, Dimitris (2015) Prime Ministers in Greece: the paradox of power. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780198717171

Full text not available from this repository.

Identification Number: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717171.001.0001


This book is concerned with a large question in one small, but highly problematic case: how can prime ministers establish control and coordination across their government? The Greek system of government sustains a ‘paradox of power’ at its very core. The Constitution provides the Prime Minister with extensive and often unchecked powers. Yet, the operational structures, processes, and resources around the Prime Minister undermine their power to manage the government. Through a study of all the main premierships between 1974 and 2009, the book argues that the Greek Prime Minister has been ‘an emperor without clothes’. The costs of this paradox have included the inability to achieve key policy objectives under successive governments and a fragmented system of governance that provided the backdrop to Greece’s economic meltdown in 2010. Building on an unprecedented range of interviews and archival material, the book sets out to explore how this paradox has been sustained, engaging with a wide conceptual literature—from historical institutionalism; organizational culture and leadership theory; administrative cultures and traditions; and political sociology—to identify these constraints on reform capacity and political will for change. The book concludes with the Greek system meeting its ‘nemesis’: the arrival of the close supervision of its government by the ‘Troika’—the representatives of Greece’s creditors. The debt crisis challenged taboos and forced a self-reflection. It remains unclear, however, whether either the external strategy or the domestic response is likely to be sufficient to make the Greek system of governance ‘fit for purpose.

Item Type: Book
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Hellenic Observatory
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DF Greece
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2015 16:38
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2023 14:27

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item