From this week’s Economist:
‘There are now more than 20 female relatives of former leaders active in national politics around the world. They include three presidents or prime ministers and at least half a dozen leaders of the opposition or presidential candidates (see table). There are no historical numbers for proper comparison, but it is hard to think of another period—certainly no recent one—when so much dynastic authority has been flowing down the female line.’
And some interesting ideas on why that might be:
‘Some of these women have made it on their own.’ [Hilary Clinton for example]
‘Family name confers brand recognition, useful contacts and financial contributions’
‘As politics becomes more professional and specialised —with politicians increasingly knowing no other walk of life—the advantages of being brought up in its ways and wiles grow greater.’
‘In the West it is no longer exceptional for women such as Martine Aubry or Marine Le Pen to run for the highest office. In Asian countries it now seems easier for a dynasty’s founder to pass over talentless playboys in favour of more intelligent and perceptive daughters (like Thailand’s new Prime Minister delegate, Yingluck Shinawatra).’ [i.e. intra-elite meritocracy is coming along nicely]
Term limits make it an obvious way to extend a family’s period in office.
Update: Allison asks the great question ‘what about male dynasties’, i.e. men in power now (so no Bushes or Kennedys please). All we can come up with is Raul Castro + just about every monarch. Please add to the list.