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Invisible Rulers: The ‘Latent Power Structure’ in Two Spanish Governments (2004 and 2012)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 September 2022

Andrés Villena-Oliver
Department of Applied, Public and Political Economy, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Bernabé Aldeguer*
Department of Constitutional Law and Political and Administrative Science, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
Delio Lucena-Piquero
LEREPS, Sciences Po Toulouse, University of Toulouse, Toulouse, France
*Corresponding author. Email:


Beyond the observation of official positions and incorporating the ‘Latent Power Structure’ (LPS), this article offers a broadened view of the organization of democratic governments. We define the LPS as a set of former officials, parliamentary and party members, and business directors who are closely related to government members, since they have recruited one or more of them for certain positions in the past. Applied to a Social Network Analysis of two Spanish governments, the LPS reveals a more concentrated structure of power with a far greater range of resources. The LPS analysis shows that governments rely on certain influential organizations in the social structure, to a greater extent than might initially be believed. This finding indicates the existence of government structures that represent a greater risk to democratic representation, and provides evidence for understanding how the state and other critical institutions are related in the social structure.

Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Government and Opposition Limited

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