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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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Rules of the Game

Rules of the Game

(p.60) Chapter 4 Rules of the Game
Politics at the Centre

William Cross

André Blais

Oxford University Press

It has long been established that the rules governing general elections can significantly influence outcomes. This chapter argues that the same is true for party leadership contests. In addition to the selectorate, this chapter identifies the electoral system, the weighting of votes, and regulations governing eligibility for candidacy as key rules influencing leadership politics. Perhaps surprisingly, given that a majority of the countries studied use a plurality rule for national elections, all parties require majority support for the election of their leaders. Many parties with expanded selectorates weight votes, either by assigning individual party groups a set proportion of the vote (through an ‘electoral college’ arrangement) or by weighting votes by electoral constituency. Rules governing eligibility for candidacy often restrict the leadership to those serving in the parliamentary party and parties with an expanded selectorate often invoke a relatively high threshold of parliamentary support as a requisite for candidacy.

Keywords:   party leadership elections, eligibility for candidacy, electoral system, intra-party democracy, party election rules

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