Michal Smrek defends his thesis 10 May


Michal Smrek defends his thesis Incumbent Renomination: Accountability and Gender Bias on 10 May at 13:15 in Brusewitzsalen, Östra Ågatan 19.

Michal Smrek

The external reviewer is Johanna Kantola, Professor in Gender Studies at University of Tampere.

The members of the examination committee are Professor Christer Karlsson from the Department of Government, Uppsala University; Professor Kristine Höglund from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Uppsala University; and Associate Professor Karl Loxbo from the Department of Political Science, Linnaeus University.

Incumbent Renomination: Accountability and Gender Bias

The cover illustration for the dissertation shows that
female legislators continue to face structural impediments
that limit their access to political power.

Political parties take a lot of crucial decisions on voters’ behalf without voter input or scrutiny. Candidate selection is one such example. By controlling access to the party ballots, political parties have a crucial say in determining who our legislators will be. As such, political parties can adversely affect the overall representativeness of the political system by failing to offer a candidate pool that mirrors the distribution of sexes, professions, age groups or other important social characteristics. Political parties also decide which of legislators who currently sit in the parliament will be allowed to return onto the party ballot and seek re-election. Therefore, they can influence or even directly control the behavior of incumbent legislators by the threat of no-renomination and thus adversely affect the legislators’ ability to represent the interests of their voters.

Study 1: The study shows that incumbents who have
made their way to the parliament from a non-electable
ballot position solely thanks to preference voting are
rewarded with a much more electable ballot position
at next election.

This dissertation shows that studying incumbent renomination can help us to shed light on fundamental debates related to accountability, representation and legitimacy of political systems. In particular, the dissertation assesses whether those legislators who receive a high number of preference votes are rewarded with a more electable ballot position at next election and shown that this is only rarely the case. The dissertation also maps the renomination fortunes of one politically marginalized social group – women, and shows that even if women often manifest a demonstratively superior performance as legislators, they continue to face structural impediments that make it more difficult for them to clear the renomination hurdle.

Study 2: The study shows that even though Czech
female legislators outperform their male colleagues
in terms of loyalty voting and electoral popularity,
they are not always rewarded for it when renomination
decisions are made.

The dissertation sports four illustrations drawn by a prominent Slovak political cartoonist Shooty. While the first illustration summarizes the findings of the dissertation as a whole, the other three summarize the findings of the three empirical studies that comprise the dissertation. This is the first time in the Department’s history that cartoons are used as a medium of presenting scientific findings.

Study 3: An ethnographic study of the Slovak Freedom
and Solidarity party shows that even if the party
has a high number of female legislators, they
continue to face structural constraints that prevent
them from excelling in tasks that are expected of them.

Find out more about Michal Smrek

Fulltext available on DiVA Open Access

Public Defences

Last modified: 2023-11-23