Personalization of Political Leadership: Analysis of Lithuanian Political Parties

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 14:00
Rectorate Hall (K. Donelaicio St. 73-402 room)

Author, Institution: Vitalija Simonaitytė, Kaunas University of Technology

Science Area, Field of Science: Social Sciences, Political Sciences – 02S

Summary of the Doctoral Thesis: Summary

Scientific Advisor: Prof. dr. Algis Krupavičius (Kaunas University of Technology and Vytautas Magnus University, Social Sciences, Political Sciences, 02S).

Dissertation Defence Board of Political Science Field:
Prof. Dr. Jūratė Novagrockienė (The General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Social Sciences, Political Sciences - 02S) – chairwoman;
Dr. Raimundas Ibenskas (University of Southampton, United Kingdom, Social Sciences, Political Sciences - 02S);
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alvidas Lukošaitis (Vilnius University, Social Sciences, Political Sciences - 02S);
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ingrida Unikaitė-Jakuntavičienė (Vytautas Magnus University, Social Sciences, Political Sciences - 02S);
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gintaras Žilinskas (Kaunas University of Technology Social Sciences, Political Sciences - 02S).

The doctoral dissertation is available on the internet and at the libraries of Kaunas University of Technology (K. Donelaičio st. 20, Kaunas), Vytautas Magnus University (V. Putvinskio st. 23, Kaunas), The General Jonas Žemaitis Academy of Lithuania (Šilo st. 5A, Vilnius) and Klaipeda University (K. Donelaičio sq. 3, Klaipėda.

The doctoral dissertation analyses the factors influencing the personalization of leaders of Lithuanian political parties. The factors are divided into three sets of variables: leaders, political parties and the political system. Variables of the party leader analyse the openness and competitiveness of the election of party leaders, formal and informal powers and roles of party leaders, public speaking on behalf of the party and electoral results. Variables of the political party reveal the age and origins of the party, party organizational models, i.e., whether the party passed through a model of mass party organization, ideological radicalism of political party and the nature of the relationship between parties and their voters. Variables of the political system are discussed through the change of the society and its values on individualism – collectivism axis, the structure of government, the electoral system and the institutionalization of the party system. Empirical research is based on semi-structured interviews with party leaders and other parties’ members involved in party decision-making in Labour party, Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, Liberal Movement of Lithuania’s Republic, Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats and Party Order and Justice. The qualitative comparative analysis examines the determinants of personalization of political leadership. The empirical research revealed that the main factors determining the personalization of leaders of Lithuanian political parties are non-competitive election of the party leader, a monocratic decision making within the party and the age of the party.