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Strongman (politics)

A strongman is a political leader who rules by force and runs an authoritarian regime or totalitarian regime. The term is often used interchangeably with "dictator" in the western world, but differs from a "warlord" and commonly lacks the negative connotations especially in some Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

A strongman is not necessarily always a formal head of state or head of government; sometimes journalists use the term to describe a military or political figure who exercises far more influence over the government than a local constitution allows. General Manuel Noriega, for example, was often dubbed the "Strongman of Panama" for the enormous amount of political power he exercised over Panama, although he was not the formal president or prime minister of the state. In practice, his role was that of a dictator.

Similarly, not every discussion of "strong leadership"[1] (or every promise to provide such[2]) envisages rule by a strongman.

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  1. ^ For example: Sinclair, Barbara (1992). "The Emergence of Strong Leadership in the 1980s House of Representatives". The Journal of Politics. 54 (3): 657–684. doi:10.2307/2132306. Retrieved 27 October 2013. An explanation for the emergence of strong leadership is offered and tested. I argue that, during the period under study, the costs and benefits to majority party members of strong leadership changed significantly. 
  2. ^ See for example:Rao, Mumtaz Hamid, ed. (May 2010). "David Cameron takes the reins in UK; Vows strong leadership". Pakistan Times. Islamabad. Pakistan Times UK Bureau. ISSN 1729-7915. Retrieved 27 October 2013. Prime Minister David Cameron has said the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition will be united to give Britain a strong and stable leadership for the long term. [...] 'And it will be an administration united behind one key purpose and that is to give our country the strong and stable and determined leadership that we need for the long term.' [...] New Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled more details of his historic coalition on Wednesday, vowing "strong" government after ending 13 years of Labour rule. [...] New Foreign Secretary William Hague insisted the coalition agreement [...] would stand the test of time. [...] 'It will be a strong government,' said Hague.