Pre-mayoral Career and Incumbency of Local Leaders in Post-Communist Countries: Evidence from Lithuania and Slovenia


Political careers emerge when individuals develop patterns of mobility between offices in the political realm. These patterns provide useful clues about the expected activity of an individual leader. Patterns of political tenure can be revealing because individuals who aspire to long-term service seem more committed to the autonomy of their institutions, as well as more active and effective within them. The mayoral career is created in a continuous process of mayoral position implementation where a unique combination of ambition and opportunity intertwine. A political career is therefore necessarily associated with time and defined by two key points: the starting point and the termination point of mayoral function. Between them, the mayoral career takes place. The article focuses on the career development and mayoral incumbency in post-communist countries such as Lithuania and Slovenia. Authors particularly focus on the direct mayoral elections conducted in Lithuania for the first time in 2015 and introduced in Slovenia already in 1994. Career of local leaders was analysed in terms of pre-mayoral career, where authors discovered that the largest share of mayors were municipal council members. Both countries had a relatively high proportion of political newcomers. In Lithuania, the first direct elections finally also enabled the elections of non-partisan candidates, a trend seen in Slovenia since 1994.


Key words:

pre-mayoral political career, incumbency, direct elections, non-partisans, Post-communist countries

Astrauskas, A. (2013). Vietos savivaldos raida Lietuvoje nuo 1990 metų iki dabar. Viešoji politika ir administravimas, 12(2), 260–71.

Barber, J. D. (1965). The Lawmakers. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Botero, F. (2008). Ambition and Reelection: Theoretical Considerations (preliminary version). Tuscon: University of Arizona.

Brezovšek, M., & Kukovič, S. (2012). Organizacija lokalne oblasti v Sloveniji. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede.

Brezovšek, M., & Kukovič, S. (2015). Evropska javna uprava. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede.

Ehrenhalt, A. (1991). The United States of Ambition. New York: Times Books.

Eurobarometer 2004/61, (10/08/2017).

Eurobarometer 2016/85, (10/08/2017).

Haček, M. (2006). The Relationship between Civil Servants and Politicians in a Post-Communist Country: A Case of Slovenia. Public Administration, 84(1), 165–84.

Haughton, T. (2005). Constraints And Opportunities of Leadership in Post-communist Europe. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Company.

Hibbing, J. R. (1993). The Career Paths of Member of Congress. In: S. Williams & E. L. Lascher (Eds.), Ambition and Beyond: Career Paths of American Politicians (pp. 109–30). Berkeley: Institute of Governmental Studies Press.

King, G., & Zeng, L. (2000). Logistic Regression in Rare Events Data. Political Analysis, 9(2), 137–63.

Kjær, U. (2006). The Mayor's Political Career. In: H. Bäck, H. Heinelt & A. Magnier (Eds.), The European Mayor, Political Leaders in the Changing Context of Local Democracy (pp. 75–98). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Kukovič, S. (2015). Lokalno politično vodenje: Slovenski župani v primerjalni perspektivi. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede.

Kukovič, S., & Haček, M. (2013).The Re-Election of Mayors in the Slovenian Local Self-Government. Lex Localis, 11(2), 87–99.

Kukovič, S., Copus, C., Haček, M. & Blair, A. (2015). Direct Mayoral Elections in Slovenia and England: Traditions and Trends Compared. Lex Localis, 13(3), 693–714.

Leoni, E., Pereira, C., & Renno, L. (2004). Political Survival Strategies: Political Career Decisions in Brasilian Chamber of Deputies. Journal of Latin American Studies, 36(1), 109–30.

Marvick, D. (1972). Political Recruitment and Careers. In: D. Sills (Ed.), International Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences (pp. 273–82). New York: The Macmillan Company &The Free Press.

Mažylis, L., & Leščauskaitė, V. (2015). Tiesioginiai merų rinkimai Lietuvoje: užtrukę debatai ir šviežia patirtis. Politikos mokslų almanachas, 17, 33–56.

McKelvey, R. D., & Reizman, R. G. (1992). Seniority in Legislatures. American Political Science Review, 86(4), 951–65.

Pivoras, S. (2013). Post-Communist Public Administration in Lithuania. In: S. Liebert, S. E. Condrey, & D. Goncharov (Eds.), Public Administration in Post-Communist Countries (pp. 135–60). Boca Raton, New York, London: CRC Press.

Polsby, N. W. (1968). The Institutionalization of the U.S. House of Representatives. American Political Science Review, 62(1), 144–68.

Prašnikar, A. (2000). Župan, director občinske uprave, občinska uprava. In: S. Vlaj (Ed.), Župan in občina. Ljubljana: Inštitut za lokalno samoupravo.

Prinz, T. S. (1993). The Career Paths of Elected Politicians: A Review and Prospectus. In: S. Williams & E. L. Lascher (Eds.), Ambition and Beyond: Career Paths of American Politicians (pp. 11–63). Berkeley: Institute of Governmental Studies Press.

Putnam, R. D. (1976). The Comparative Study of Political Elites. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Republic of Lithuania Law on Elections to Municipal Councils, 7 July 1994, No I-532 (Last amended on 20 October 2015, No XII-1976).

Republic of Lithuania, Law on Local Self-Government, 7 July 1994, No I-533 (Last amended on 15 May 2014 XII-883).

Scarrow, S. E. (1997). Political Career Paths and the European Parliament. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 22(2), 253–63.

Sloboda, M. (2014). Women’s Participation and the Incumbency Advantage in Slovak Cities: the Case Study of the Mayoral Elections in Slovakia. Socialinia ityrimai, 36(3), 101–11.

Šaparnienė, D. & Lazauskienė, A. (2012).Local Government in Lithuania. In: A. M. Moreno (Ed.), Local Government in the Member States of the European Union: A Comparative Legal Perspective (pp. 389–410). Madrid: National Institute of Public Administration.

The Local Self-Government Act, Official Gazette RS 72/1993, 94/2007.

Verhelst, T., Reynaert, H. & Steyvers, K. (2013). Political recruitment and career development of local councillors in Europe. In: B. Egner, D. Sweeting & P.-J. Klok (Eds.), Local Councillors in Europe (pp. 27–49). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Wollmann, H. (2014). The directly-elected mayor in the German Länder – introduction, implementation and impact. Public Money & Management, 34(5), 331–37.


Published : 2018-03-12

KukovicS., & LazauskienėA. (2018). Pre-mayoral Career and Incumbency of Local Leaders in Post-Communist Countries: Evidence from Lithuania and Slovenia. Political Preferences, (18). Retrieved from

Simona Kukovic
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia  Slovenia
Aistė Lazauskienė 
Šiauliai University, Lithuania  Lithuania

The Copyright Owners of the submitted texts grant the Reader the right to use the pdf documents under the provisions of the Creative Commons 4.0 International License: Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA). The user can copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose.

1. License

The University of Silesia Press provides immediate open access to journal’s content under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license ( Authors who publish with this journal retain all copyrights and agree to the terms of the above-mentioned CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

2. Author’s Warranties

The author warrants that the article is original, written by stated author/s, has not been published before, contains no unlawful statements, does not infringe the rights of others, is subject to copyright that is vested exclusively in the author and free of any third party rights, and that any necessary written permissions to quote from other sources have been obtained by the author/s.

If the article contains illustrative material (drawings, photos, graphs, maps), the author declares that the said works are of his authorship, they do not infringe the rights of the third party (including personal rights, i.a. the authorization to reproduce physical likeness) and the author holds exclusive proprietary copyrights. The author publishes the above works as part of the article under the licence "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International".

ATTENTION! When the legal situation of the illustrative material has not been determined and the necessary consent has not been granted by the proprietary copyrights holders, the submitted material will not be accepted for editorial process. At the same time the author takes full responsibility for providing false data (this also regards covering the costs incurred by the University of Silesia Press and financial claims of the third party).

3. User Rights

Under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, the users are free to share (copy, distribute and transmit the contribution) and adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material) the article for any purpose, provided they attribute the contribution in the manner specified by the author or licensor.

4. Co-Authorship

If the article was prepared jointly with other authors, the signatory of this form warrants that he/she has been authorized by all co-authors to sign this agreement on their behalf, and agrees to inform his/her co-authors of the terms of this agreement.

I hereby declare that in the event of withdrawal of the text from the publishing process or submitting it to another publisher without agreement from the editorial office, I agree to cover all costs incurred by the University of Silesia in connection with my application.