Incumbency Advantage in the Context of Electoral Manipulation. Experiences of Local Elections in Poland

  • Agnieszka Turska-Kawa University of Silesia, Institute of Political Science
  • Weldemar Wojastik University of Silesia, Institute of Political Science
Keywords: electoral manipulation, local elections, incumbency advantage, electoral competition, Poland


The paper analyzes the potential impact of individuals exercising their mandate and running for re-election (incumbents) on the instrumentalization of the electoral competition. The context chosen for this analysis is provided by local elections and by mechanisms used by politicians to improve their electoral chances. As in other types of elections, the personal dimension of manipulation in local elections is asymmetrical in its nature. Due to their position and resources held, incumbents are the ones who have a higher manipulative potential than their challengers. The aim of the paper is to analyze the advantage of incumbents in local elections by indicating the electoral manipulations used with regard to three basic types: institutional, communicative, and psychological. The analysis is conducted on the basis of Polish electoral experience and illustrated with examples justifying the importance of the individual manipulations in the electoral competition.


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