Local Leadership and Local-Self Government: Avoiding the Abyss

  • Colin Copus De Montfort University Leicester, Department of Politics & Public Policy
  • Kristof Steyvers Ghent University, Department of Political Science
Keywords: local leadership, local government, austerity, institutions, local politics


A series of trends have emerged across Europe which have stimulated change in local government, local democracy and local leadership particularly where local government and local leaders have had to respond to crisis, economic downturn and the pressures of public engagement in times of restraint and public service decline. The special issue of Lex Localis (14:4, 2016) explored those factors in countries as diverse as Iceland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Poland, to provide valuable insights into the turbulent times within which local self-government is located. That issue of Lex Localis was drawn from two related sources: the ECPR joint sessions work shop in Warsaw on local political leadership in times of austerity and from papers produced for the LocRef Cost Action democratic renewal workgroup. The paper here presents a review of, and retrospective introduction to that special issue. But by also drawing on other sources it offers an exploration of the broad trends shaping the development of local government and also develops a commentary on the factors which stimulate or hinder the success of local leadership, local government and local democracy in challenging times.

Author Biographies

Colin Copus, De Montfort University Leicester, Department of Politics & Public Policy


Kristof Steyvers, Ghent University, Department of Political Science

Associate Professor


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