Party conference

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The chairman's table at the Scottish Green Party's Autumn conference in November 2007. Note the agenda displayed on the screen behind.

The terms party conference (UK English), political convention (US English), and party congress usually refer to a general meeting of a political party. The conference is attended by certain delegates who represent the party membership. In most political parties, the party conference is the highest decision-making body of the organization, tasked with electing or nominating the party's leaders or leadership bodies, deciding party policy, and setting the party's platform and agendas.

The term conference or caucus may also refer to the organization of all party members as a whole.

The definitions of all of these terms vary greatly, depending on the country and situation in which they are used.

Leadership roles[edit]

  • Chairmanship — Chosen from within the body's membership to preside over its business.
  • Secretary — Responsible for keeping minutes of the conference's proceedings.
  • Policy committees — Responsible for setting and maintaining review of current party policy, and preparing proposals for presentation to the full conference.


Party conferences around the world[edit]

Canada[edit]

In Canada, besides annual or bianual conventions, parties often hold special conventions to elect new leaders.

Communist states[edit]

  • Communist parties convene a congress to elect a Central Committee, which in turn sets up a Politburo.
  • A Communist conference may also meet on occasion, to discuss a particular issue or plan an event, but would have no such official powers.

Ireland[edit]

  • Irish Labour Party has an annual Party Conference at which party policy is decided by the membership and the Party Chairperson and Executive Board are elected.

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

In the United States, the term party conference is used to refer to the equivalent of parliamentary groups in other countries.

See also[edit]