Incumbency in Multi-level Political Systems and Recruitment Advantage: The Case of the Czech Regional Assemblies
The article addresses the differential recruitment advantages of individual candidates in regional assembly elections. The authors argue that in a multi-level polity different types of incumbency exist that are reflected in the recruitment process, favour officeholders over newcomers, and at the same time differentiate the accessibility of regional offices for officeholders at various system levels. Moreover, it is argued that the effect of multi-level incumbency can be well observed even in proportional electoral systems. Empirically, the impact of incumbency on a candidate’s chances to succeed in the recruitment process and to obtain preferential votes is analysed using regional assembly elections in the Czech Republic as an example. The authors demonstrate that regional incumbents enjoy by a huge margin advantage during the candidate nomination phase and they are the most favoured group at the ballot followed by national-level politicians and big city mayors.