Party leader survival. Identifying the factors influencing the longevity of party leaders' tenures in the Netherlands

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This purpose of this study is to identify the factors influencing the longevity of party leaders’ tenures, a subject of growing importance due to the increasing importance of political personalities. Although parties remain to play an important role in present-day liberal democracies, the importance of party leaders is increasing both in the relationship between politics and society and within political parties. Party leadership selection, survival and replacement are topics that receive a lot of attention in the media and it is surprising that little systematic research has been performed to identify which factors influence the longevity of a party leader’s tenure. This study investigates the influence of performance, timing, party organization, predecessors, personal characteristics and party characteristics on party leadership longevity. To determine the impact of these factors, a database of Dutch party leaders since the Second World War is build. Some of the major results are that longevities decrease over time, performance is important for party leader survival, there is a clear difference between male and female party leaders and some party characteristics have a significant effect as well. The results are mixed or inconclusive with regard to democratization of party leader selection methods and to the role of predecessors.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen