Rules of the Game

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

Rules of the Game

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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

Chapter.  12713 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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