Who Picks the Party Leader?

William Cross and André Blais

in Politics at the Centre

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596720
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740688 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Who Picks the Party Leader?

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This chapter examines who has voice in the selection of party leaders. The chapter first identifies the possibilities ranging from the leader being selected by a single or small group of party elites to selection by all supporters of the party in the electorate. The most common selectorates, in contemporary parties, are members of the parliamentary party and the grassroots membership. In some parties the selectorate includes delegates to party conferences, local and regional elected officials, and trade unions. Regardless of the groups formally enfranchised, this chapter argues that those without a vote will attempt to influence the choice; for example, grassroots activists are often found to pressure parliamentarians to choose their favourite candidate. Groups from outside the party, such as any governing coalition partners, are also found to attempt to influence a party’s choice of leader.

Keywords: leadership selectorate; leadership elections; intra-party democracy; party members

Chapter.  9420 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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