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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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Retirements, Resignations, and Removals

Retirements, Resignations, and Removals

(p.87) Chapter 5 Retirements, Resignations, and Removals
Politics at the Centre

William Cross

André Blais

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the circumstances surrounding the end of leadership tenures. Consideration is given to how long leaders last in the job, and how this varies among countries and over time. Leaders in Australia and New Zealand are found to have significantly shorter tenures than their colleagues in Canada and Ireland. The length of leaders’ terms is also found to be shortening in recent years. Most leaders are elected for indefinite terms and thus leave office only when they decide to retire or when their colleagues decide to push them out. Few leaders are found to retire voluntarily and so considerable attention is paid to how party members (typically parliamentarians) are able to ‘force’ an unwanted leader from the job. There is significant variance among parties in this regard with some allowing for a leader to be removed in a matter of hours by a vote of the parliamentary party while others require elaborate procedures lasting months and involving the constituency parties.

Keywords:   party leadership removal, parliamentary caucus politics, leadership tenures, fixed electoral terms, intra-party democracy

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