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Directly elected mayors were introduced in Poland in 2002 in all local governments at the municipal level. This chapter discusses the rationale behind the reform, the arguments of the proponents of the change, the politics of implementing the reform, as well as actual outcomes. It argues that – opposite to some expectations – the reform has not resulted in increasing citizen interest in local elections. But it has strengthened the position of the mayors in municipal relations, brining Poland very close to the classic strong mayor model, stabilized position of mayors, and stopped the process of the conquest of local governments by national political parties. The increasing frequency of multi-term, long lasting mayors leads to discussion of possible further reforms, reducing the advantage of incumbents. But the system of direct election itself seems to be a very stable element of the local government architecture in Poland – it is not questioned by the current debates by any of important political parties or even by the councillors, whose role was reduced by the 2002 reform.

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Author: Thom Oliver

This chapter analyses the position of a directly elected mayor as a mechanism to deliver transformative change to local government in England. Through a narrative exploration of the trajectory of mayoral governance in the City of Bristol, analysis interrogates where the model has succeeded, where it has met barriers, and the capacity of the position of elected mayor to innovate in order to overcome those challenges. Through the use of thematic vignettes, the argument is made that whilst the model offers significant potential for transformative change, a number of historic, structural and contextual factors have significantly limited the capacity for the model to deliver the transformative change that advocates of the model assert is possible. Conclusions are made around which elements restrict the capacity of the mayoral role to reach its potential and the how the model might be adapted in future to enable its full benefits to be realised.

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This book is about directly elected mayors; political leaders who are elected directly by citizens to head multi-functional local government authorities. The book examines the contexts, features and debates around the model, and how in practice political leadership is exercised through it. The book draws on examples from the Europe, the US, and Australasia to examine the impacts, practices, and debates of mayoral leadership in different cities and countries. Themes that recur throughout include the formal and informal powers that mayors exercise, their relationships with other actors in governance, both inside municipalities and in broader governance networks, and the advantages and disadvantages of the model. The work draws on a variety of sources, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches, to build a picture of views of and on mayors in different contexts from across the globe.

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Author: David Sweeting

This chapter draws conclusions from across the contributions to this work, relating to the importance and forms of mayoral power, the influence of political parties, the influence of mayors in governance (both locally and at other levels), over business, and in economic development in a globalised context. The work concludes with discussion over representational aspects in mayoral governance, and offers suggestions for further avenues of research.

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Author: Petr Jüptner

This chapter discusses and analyses the proposals for the introduction of directly elected mayors in the Czech Republic. Particular attention is paid to the proposed models of direct election and their potential impacts on the functioning of the municipal executive, and on the relationship between the mayor and other institutions of local government. It draws on research conducted by the author, in addition to government reports, legislative materials, and material from political parties and the media. It is argued that the reform process involves a debate that resembles a political game, which is connected to the experience of Austrian and Slovak mayors. Distinct periods can be identified within this debate.

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Author: Robin Hambleton

Directly elected mayors are on the rise internationally. Enthusiasts for this form of local political leadership claim that it can provide visible, strategic, accountable leadership for cities. Opponents argue that the model concentrates too much power in the hands of one individual, and that it can result in local government decision-making being skewed to serve powerful economic interests. This chapter offers a contribution to this debate. An opening section outlines a way of conceptualising the political space available to place-based leaders. It is then suggested that, in any given locality, there are likely to be different realms of leadership, with players from inside and outside the state making a significant contribution to urban policy making. Three examples of bold and progressive mayoral leadership are then presented in the form of three short cameos: Greater London, UK (in the period 2000-08), Portland, Oregon, USA; and Freiburg, Germany. The comparative discussion of mayoral leadership that follows is structured around three themes: the role of directly elected mayors in expanding place-based power; connecting the realms of place-based leadership and bringing progressive values back into city politics.

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Author: Björn Egner

Each German state has adopted its own municipal code which defines the horizontal power relations between the two most powerful players in local politics, the mayor and the municipal council. The aim of this chapter is to find our whether variances in formal power between states are connected to the assessment of mayors and councillors concerning the relationship between them. For that purpose, an index of mayoral power is established. Within reference to six regression models, the explanatory power of formal institutions is found to be relatively weak.

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Recent legislative changes designed to strengthen the role of the mayor have been recently introduced in New Zealand. This chapter critically reviews the New Zealand model of local political leadership. In particular, it considers the drivers and implications of the legislative changes. It is argued that, while direct election of mayors is central to political accountability, there are significant mediating influences on the legitimacy and effectiveness of local political leadership. It is important therefore to consider broader constitutional and institutional features. Drawing on the New Zealand experience, I argue that three institutional/formal variables substantially influence the governing capacity of mayors: legislation and the constitutional status of local government, the public management framework, and the framework of central-local relations. In the case of those directly elected, features of the electoral system also shape governing capacity

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Impact and Practice
Editor: David Sweeting

Directly elected mayors are political leaders who are selected directly by citizens and head multi-functional local government authorities. This book examines the contexts, features and debates around this model of leadership, and how in practice political leadership is exercised through it.

The book draws on examples from Europe, the US, and Australasia to examine the impacts, practices, and debates of mayoral leadership in different cities and countries. Themes that recur throughout include the formal and informal powers that mayors exercise, their relationships with other actors in governance - both inside municipalities and in broader governance networks - and the advantages and disadvantages of the mayoral model.

Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used to build a picture of views of and on directly elected mayors in different contexts from across the globe. This book will be a valuable resource for those studying or researching public policy, public management, urban studies, politics, law, and planning.

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This chapter explores the introduction of a directly elected mayor in Liverpool. We draw on empirical data, including diary analysis and extensive elite interviewing, to explore the changes that mayoral leadership has brought about both in terms of the governing style of the leader, and in the context of the broader governance structures of the surrounding city region. We note that there does appear to be a change towards a more outward facing form of leadership introduced. However, we argue that such are the broader limits available to local actors in the Liverpool City Region, the impact of mayoral governance is limited. In short, we argue that, drawing on the case of Liverpool, mayors are necessary, but not in themselves sufficient to have a transformative impact on places.

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