The permanent campaign strategy of Greek Prime Ministers (1996–2011)
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Various academic authors have analysed the implementation, the causes and the impact of the permanent campaign strategy by political executives in presidential and parliamentary systems, notably the United States and United Kingdom. This study builds on this literature and extends the research on the permanent campaign in the European parliamentary majoritarian context by examining contemporary Greece as a national case study. In particular, the study addresses three questions. First, did contemporary Greek Prime Ministers adopt the permanent campaign strategy? Second, why did they do so? Third, what impact did the implementation of the permanent campaign have on their public approval? The research focuses on the cases of three successive Prime Ministers in Greece: Costas Simitis (1996–2004), Kostas Karamanlis (2004–2009) and George Papandreou (2009-2011). Simitis and Papandreou were leaders of the centre-left PASOK, while Karamanlis was the leader of the centre-right New Democracy. The study finds that all three Prime Ministers undertook the permanent campaign strategy in order to maintain public approval, aligning themselves with their British and American counterparts. They established new communication units within the primeministerial apparatus, consulted with communication professionals to form a coherent communication strategy, used private polling to shape political strategy, policy and presentation, used campaign-like messages as mottos to promote their policy plans and made public appearances to woo public opinion. In addition, the thesis indicates that the permanent campaign in Greece was a result of the modernisation of political communication due to political and technological developments, such as the decline of political parties, the rise of television and the proliferation of new political technologies that have appeared in other countries as well. However, the results drawn from the data analysis suggest that the 6 prime ministerial permanent campaign hardly affected the prime ministerial approval, confirming the findings of empirical studies in the US and the UK.
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