Project Proposals and Abstracts

Electoral Control Workshop 3 and Specialized Course

December 12 – 13, 2014

Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

Warsaw, Poland

Electoral Control in Eastern Europe

Projects and Abstracts

Download PDF: Electoral Control Workshop 3 projects and abstracts 2014 FINAL


The career determinants of the Hungarian legislators’ electoral performance in single member districts under mixed electoral rules, 2002-2010

Zsofia Papp, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

The electoral performance of an individual candidate depends on two broadly defined factors. First, voters are generally thought to pick candidates based on their party affiliations. Second, the candidates’ career tracks, activities, personalities, competence and integrity constitute to the amount of personal vote. There is a difference between the various electoral systems in terms of the relative importance of personal characteristics. Candidate-centred electoral rules put larger emphasis on personal voting, while in party-centred systems, personal traits will have limited bearing. Mixed-member electoral systems present a curious case as in theory it is half-way between being candidate- and party centeredness. The main question is under what circumstances will favourable individual traits lead to a better performance in the quest for re-election in such systems. Does former electoral, legislative and local political experience produce better chances of re-election? The paper investigates this question by looking at the effects of several career trajectories on electoral results at three consecutive Hungarian elections (2002, 2006, 2010).


Experiences in Collecting Candidate and Parliamentarian Data in Nepal

Sanjaya Mahato, Graduate School for Social Research, Poland

This presentation features a short history of politics in Nepal from 1990 to the present, and a discussion of the problems and solutions to collecting candidate and parliamentarian data in Nepal.


How to maximize chances of electoral success? Inter-party list mobility among parliamentary candidates in Poland 1985-2011

Justyna Nyćkowiak and Tomasz Kołodziej, University of Zielona Gora, Poland 

One way to describe the course of political careers is to look at the history of electoral successes and failures. But before they occur, one should take a look at the history of participation in the elections, especially viewed from the perspective of “patience” of candidates and their inter-party lists mobility. Using this approach, we can ask questions as to what characterizes the most effective candidates and how they differ from those who happen to be the most patient.

Despite the progressive institutionalization of the party system there are still many party affiliation changes, especially changes to the electoral lists, from which candidates compete. The mechanism of action of the electoral list has become a tool that allows applicants to maximize their chances of electoral success. We assume that there may be a relationship between the change to the electoral list and the chance to achieve electoral success.

We assume that the candidates may be willing to bear the costs — such as assuming the worst place on the electoral list, yielding a smaller share of the total votes cast for a list — if it moves the party toward a more stable, larger electorate, which then increases the candidate’s likelihood of electoral success.

The aim of the project is therefore to verify claims about the readiness of the mobility of the election candidates running for new party lists to the party list with an established position in the political arena rather than in the opposite direction. We will also verify two assumptions: (1) regarding the candidates’ willingness to pay relatively high costs of such mobility if it gives a chance to increase the chance of electoral success. (2) Secondly, the readiness of candidates for mobility within political family than between opposing to each other in batches.

Analysis of EAST PaC Poland  will concern those candidates who competed in all subsequent elections, regardless of whether they succeed or not. Such an approach will select a group that over the years 1985-2011 has taken the effort to build a strategy favor an electoral success.


The Ties that Bind: Do Political Parties or Group Associations Matter Among Legislators?

Peter J. Tunkis, The Ohio State University, CONSIRT

Despite being an example of successful democratisation, Poland’s party system is still often referred to as ‘fluid’ or ‘quasi-institutionalised,’ featuring weak party labels and high rates of defection by elected members of parliament (MPs). The questions then are: why is this still the norm after 25 years of democracy? Do parties matter for the representation of policy goals or legislator accountability in such a context beyond the institutional necessity of being on a party list to get elected or to set agendas? And what linkages or relationships between MPs are important for policy making? I argue that loyalty to non-party, group-based associations among MPs is important to the foundation of enduring party labels and stable party systems because these ties shape legislative behavior, voting discipline, and consequently party affiliation—a notion that has been overlooked in much of the political party literature. Party labels will become more meaningful and party systems more stable when MPs’ personal identities overlap, or ‘match up,’ with party identity, and the latter becomes more continuously important. In other words, early volatility and interparty mobility is a consequence of the impact of loyalty to non-party identities over party labels. I hypothesise that party loyalties are stronger when party labels align with non-party group identities. With that, as party labels begin to take on more meaning (especially due to increased ideological differentiation), party loyalty will become less dependent on loyalty to non-party identities. Based on research and interviews conducted in the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) in the summer of 2014, I show that MPs harbour strong identification with non-party group ties such as personal political histories, past committee memberships, and other biographical characteristics, more so than with party labels, per se. More importantly, these non-party identities have an impact on party loyalty. I test these expectations using EAST-PaC data on elected MPs’ occupations, socio-economic status, and demographics from 1997-2007 in Poland along with matching roll call and party affiliation data.

At the Electoral Control Workshop III, December 12-13, 2014, I will present the current state of my project, which includes my preliminary results that  combines  EAST-PaC data with intra-Kadencja party affiliation (collected in 2013 and 2014) and roll call voting data (courtesy of Hug and Wüest 2012) for parliamentary sessions between 1997 and 2007.

Gender, Class and Electoral Outcomes in Poland, 1985 – 2011

Sheri Kunovich, Southern Methodist University

Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow, Polish Academy of Sciences

This project features an analysis of EAST PaC Poland. A growing line of research has shown that personal characteristics influence electoral outcomes for individual candidates. Yet, this research rarely features intersections of gender and class, and is usually over only a few elections. We examine the intersection of gender, class and political experience of Polish candidates for the Sejm from 1985 to 2011, covering the Communist era to today. Key variables are list position, party affiliation and votes received. We will also look in-depth at the historical roots of women’s sustained political inequality and the impact of the electoral quota law of 2010.


The role of incumbency, gender and party factors in predicting candidate list placement in closed list PR

Mihail Chiru, Central European University Budapest and Lucian Blaga University Sibiu

The legislative studies literature has largely ignored the role of candidate characteristics and party factors for the party gatekeepers’ decisions to rank the various candidatures in closed list PR systems. This happened despite the fact that in such settings nomination on top positions on viable party lists is almost always equivalent with election. The article fills this gap by analyzing longitudinally the determinants of candidate list placement in Romania, a particularly puzzling case given its very low shares of re-elected incumbents and women MP. We draw on an original data set that includes 10,907 candidates nominated by the Romanian parliamentary parties at the 1992 to 2004 elections. The results of our OLS and rank-ordered logistic regressions indicate that incumbents are placed higher up on the lists than newcomers, while woman candidates receive constantly lower list positions than men. Moreover, the positive effect of incumbency is greatly reduced for women incumbents and even more so for the incumbents of parties that are about to lose elections. The effects are robust to the introduction in the models of a number of controls: the type of candidacy, the length of the party list and the popularity of the party in the constituency. A number of explanations are put forward, related with party strategies but also with the supply side of legislative recruitment.


Ukrainian Election Administration: between technical requirements and political expediency

Nazar Boyko, CIFRA, Ukraine

Election administration – the system of Election management Bodies (EMB) – is the basis of legitimacy for the election results and their perception by the public. According to the democratic norms and standards election administrators should be impartial and unbiased. However, in Ukrainian case there were found practices that have raised doubts about the independence of EMB members. The data based analysis has shown that through the election commissions’ members political actors could influence the election outcomes. Monitoring-analytical Group CIFRA ( has detected and described the phenomenon of bureaucratic technical parties – subjects of electoral process that do not compete for the seats but facilitate other political actors. Through the mechanisms of EMB formation the quotas of the first in the commissions are filled with the people loyal to the last. MAG CIFRA has developed the method of bureaucratic technical parties’ determination and is researching the phenomenon with the help of different scientific approaches. There will be presented the results of the analysis alongside with the description of the methodology.

Circulation of the political elite in Ukraine 1990-2014

Nataliia Pohorila, SOCIS – Center for Social and Marketing studies, Ukraine

This project asks four questions: (1) What was the extent of circulation of parliament membership from 1990 to 2014? (2)  What was the extent of circulation of candidacy? (3) What shaped the individual chances of electoral success? And (4) What individual and contextual (historical) factors influenced circulation of the parliament members, parties/blocs and chances of electoral success? This project features analysis of EAST PaC Ukraine.


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