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Politics at the CentreThe Selection and Removal of Party Leaders in the Anglo Parliamentary Democracies$
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William P. Cross and André Blais

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199596720

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596720.001.0001

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Explaining Change in Leadership Selectorates 1

Explaining Change in Leadership Selectorates 1

(p.34) Chapter 3 Explaining Change in Leadership Selectorates1
Politics at the Centre

William Cross

André Blais

Oxford University Press

This chapter establishes considerable movement in the expansion of the leadership selectorate in recent decades. At the starting point of this study (1965), the large majority of parties restricted participation in the leadership choice to their parliamentarians. Today this is true in a decreasing minority of parties. Many now either share the authority between their parliamentary and grassroots members or select their leaders through a membership plebiscite. This is particularly the case for parties in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Several factors are identified as explaining when and why parties expand their leadership selectorate. This chapter also notes that there has been less change in this regard in parties in Australia and New Zealand where the leadership franchise remains typically restricted to parliamentarians. Institutional arrangements such as the electoral system and the length of the parliamentary cycle are identified as reasons for this difference.

Keywords:   party organizational reform, leadership selectorate, leadership contests, party members, intra-party democracy, plebiscitary democracy

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