Prime Minister-designate is the term used to refer to a person who is expected to succeed an incumbent as prime minister as the result of a general election, but has not yet taken office. The term can be misleading, as a prime minister is usually appointed by the head of state, and not elected to office by the entire nation, as is the case with some presidential polls. However, it is frequently used by the media. Terms such as Prime Minister-in-waiting, incoming Prime Minister or Prime Minister-elect are also sometimes used.
In some countries the role is specifically covered by legislation, in others convention applies before the chosen leader is sworn in. The Australian Electoral Commission, the government authority responsible for the conduct of elections in Australia, notes that "it is usually possible for the Prime Minister-elect to claim victory on the night of the election".
The media sometimes prematurely refers to someone as a Prime Minister-designate. In the United Kingdom during the 2007 Labour Party Leadership Election, Gordon Brown was referred to as the Prime Minister-designate even before the Leadership elections had confirmed him in that position.
The title "Premier-designate" often has the same meaning in governments that use the title "Premier" to describe a role equivalent to a Prime Minister.
Constitutionally specified roles
In Israel between 1996 and 2001 the role and duration of the Prime Minister-designate was prescribed by legislation: within 45 days of the publication of the election results (8 days after elections) the Prime Minister-designate will appear before the Knesset, present the Ministers of the Government, announce the division of tasks and the guiding principles of the government's policies, and the Prime Minister and the Ministers will begin their service. In 2001, the Knesset voted to change the system of direct prime-ministerial elections and restore the one-vote parliamentary system of government that operated until 1996, approving a reformed version of the original Basic Law: The Government 1968. This new law entered into effect with the January 2003 elections.
In the Solomon Islands, the country's constitution provides a fourteen-day period between the date of the general election and the selection of the Prime Minister. During this period, aspiring candidates for Prime Minister lobby intensely to acquire the numbers needed to win the contest and form the government. The individual successfully voted to form government is the Prime Minister-designate until sworn in by the Governor-General.
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