How Do Governors Build a Power Vertical in the Context of Mayoral Elections?

In: Russian Politics
Petr Panov Perm Research Centre, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Science

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Although the spread of direct mayoral elections was weakened during the 2000s, they have survived in many municipalities until the present time. In the context of Russia’s ‘power vertical’, regional authorities are strongly involved in local elections. As a rule, they have their own candidates and provide them with support during election campaigns. It is not surprising that most often the candidates of governors are incumbents. At the same time, there are many cases when a governor prefers not to support an incumbent. Based on data from Perm Krai, this article examines some competing explanations for the strategy employed by the Governor in mayoral elections. The analysis demonstrates that an incumbent’s ability to provide the party of power with the best elections results is the most important factor determining the support of the governor. The second significant factor is the resources of the candidate. The policy implementation qualities of an incumbent are also taken into account but they are the least important. These results are in line with the general logic of an ‘electoral authoritarian regime’ that requires the building of ‘electoral vertical’.

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