Transforming Political Leadership: Models, Trends and Reforms

  • Helge O. Larsen


This chapter revisits some of the key themes in local government modernisation and reform. Drawing upon experiences of the several countries presented in this collection of essays, it examines some of the reasons for the shift from the classic model of local government — the council-committee model — to more executive-oriented models, like the parliamentary and the presidential models as well as hybrid forms. Special attention is given to the direct election of mayors, adopted in several countries as a way of strengthening the political executive. Central to this shift is the attention given to aspects of laymen rule, collegiate organisation and collective decision-making. These processes have developed over some time, resulting in a professionalisation of political leadership roles, and of the role of mayor in particular (Larsen, 1996, 2003) and the de-collectivisation of political decision-making in local government (Larsen, 2002).


Local Government Local Authority Political Leadership Local Election Formal Authority 
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  1. 1.
    In his book The Amateur Democrat (1962), James Q. Wilson offered the definition ‘An amateur is one who finds politics intrinsically interesting because it expresses a conception of the public interest. The amateur politician sees the political world more in terms of ideas and principles than in terms of persons. … The main reward of politics to the amateur is the sense of having satisfied a felt obligation to ‘participate’ (pp. 4–5).Google Scholar

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© Rikke Berg and Nirmala Rao 2005

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  • Helge O. Larsen

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