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The Prime Ministers' CraftWhy Some Succeed and Others Fail in Westminster Systems$
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Patrick Weller

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199646203.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 20 January 2022

Prime Ministers

Prime Ministers

Conundrums and Dilemmas

(p.1) 1 Prime Ministers
The Prime Ministers' Craft

Patrick Weller

Oxford University Press

Prime ministers dominate, but still lose office. Why? This chapter explores the conundrum that infests debates on the prime ministers’ power and influence. It examines the ambiguous and uncertain institutional environment with its scope for initiatives and choices. It rejects normative notions of what prime ministers should do and illustrates that accusations of excessive power and ambition have been thrown at prime ministers from the very beginning. It identifies the strategy of the book: to compare institutional arrangements in four Westminster systems—Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand—to see how prime ministers have chosen to define their role. It proposes tests for assessing prime ministers and for judging their performance and options.

Keywords:   Prime Ministers, myths, institutions, performance, ambitions, Westminster conventions, normative assumptions, prerogatives and priorities

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