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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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Getting There, Staying There

Getting There, Staying There

(p.35) 2 Getting There, Staying There
The Prime Ministers' Craft

Patrick Weller

Oxford University Press

Gaining and holding office is the fundamental requirement for all prime ministers. This chapter explores their routes to power, by winning elections or by replacing an incumbent, and then assesses the differences the alternative routes make to the prime ministers’ fortunes. It asks how vulnerable prime ministers are to being replaced by rivals from their own party and shows how different institutional rules shape the strategic choices for those who want the top job. In Australia and New Zealand they must fight; in Canada they often flee; in Britain they fulminate but have difficulty in striking. A change in rules changes both the strategic options of the ambitious and the levers available to incumbent prime ministers.

Keywords:   Prime ministers, elections, ejections, institutional rules, strategic choices, vulnerability, tenure

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