Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview
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This is the first of four chapters examining how parties in liberal democracies move towards controlling government and then control it. This chapter is concerned with how parties select leaders--or, rather, it examines how they select certain kinds of leaders. It deals primarily, though not exclusively, with the nomination of candidates for seats in legislatures and with candidates for directly elected executive positions (such as the American presidency).

The chapter does not look at how leaders of party organizations are chosen, when those positions of leadership are quite distinct from legislative leaders or directly elected executives. The reason for this is that we are concerned with the corps of people which a party in government will draw on in filling state offices. Moreover, rather less attention is paid here to the emergence of leaders within parliamentary parties than to the selection of candidates within these parties. This is because generally the main determinant of legislative party behaviour is what happens at the selection stage; who becomes the leader of a party does make a difference to its behaviour in the legislature, but nearly all parliamentary leaders must operate within constraints imposed by the composition of the legislative party.

Nevertheless, before proceeding with the main themes, it is important to say something about the connection between leaders in party organizations and those in legislatures and other elected public offices. Broadly speaking, a


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