Fri 31 Mar 2023

Informality, electoral and organizational clientelism in the East and the West of Europe

re:constitution Workshop organised by Fellow Edit Zgut-Przybylska

Andrássy University Budapest, Budapest

The workshop "Informality, electoral and organizational clientelism in the East and the West of Europe" is organised by re:constitution Fellow Edit Zgut-Przybylska and takes place on 31 March 2023 at Andrássy University Budapest.


The quality of democracy and the quality of governance are deteriorating both in the East and the West of Europe. Hybrid regimes in the post-communist region are hotbeds of electoral clientelism and clientelist corruption. Amid the multiple crises of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, political actors are more incentivised to use marginalised groups’ legitimate grievances to further their democracy distortive electoral strategies. With the intertwined economic implications of the war and the global pandemic, these groups are becoming more vulnerable to (coercive) vote-buying and other forms of manipulation of vote choice.

While there is no proven electoral clientelism in Western Europe, studies nevertheless report frequent cases of party patronage, for example in Austria, Italy, and Greece (Kopecky et al. 2016; Treib 2012) as well as administrative irregularities in Germany (Waldhoff 2021; Goerres&Frank 2018) with a negative impact on the electoral integrity of these countries.

However, the integrity of the elections is not primarily threatened by electoral clientelism only. Political and business actors are heavily tilting the playing field with organizational clientelism in between elections too. The misuse of public funds, media capture, and the political and economic monopolization of the state are all negatively impacting the fairness of the elections.

This workshop aims to provide a more nuanced picture of democratic backsliding by analyzing various informal interactions of the political and economic stakeholders in Europe. We are seeking solutions not by isolating our knowledge, but by creating coalitions across disciplines, sectors, and countries. The event will bring together academics from the social sciences – political scientists, sociologists –, economists, and lawyers with professionals from non-governmental organizations.

The main goal is to provide actionable recommendations to develop evidence-based policy-making tools and pilot effective countering strategies to diminish the pervasive effects of organizational and electoral clientelism. 


The workshop is a closed event.

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