Term of office

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Term of office or term in office is the length of time a person (usually a politician) serves in a particular office.

United Kingdom[edit]

Prime Minister[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister has no term limits. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Monarch and remains in office so long as he/she can command the confidence of the House of Commons, which in practice equals being the leader of the party with the most number of seats. The current incumbent, David Cameron has a working majority of 30 seats in the current House of Commons.

Parliament has to be elected every five years at a maximum though elections often take place more frequently, most usually every four years, such as 1979, 1983 and 1987, or 1997, 2001 and 2005.

The longest serving First Lord of the Treasury in Britain is Robert Walpole serving between 4 April 1721 – 11 February 1742. The longest serving leader to be called Prime Minister is Margaret Thatcher serving from May 4, 1979 to November 28, 1990, while the shortest serving Prime Minister is Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who was Prime Minister for 363 days, from 18 October 1963 to his defeat at the polls on 16 October 1964.

Devolved Administrations[edit]

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are a variation on the system of government used at Westminster.

The office of the leader of the devolved administrations has no numeric term limit imposed upon it. However, in the case of the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government there are fixed terms for which the legislatures can sit. This is imposed at four years. Elections may be held before this time but only if no administration can be formed, which has not happened yet.

United States[edit]

Federal[edit]

In the United States, the president of the United States is elected indirectly through the United States Electoral College to a four-year term, with a term limit of two terms (totaling eight years) or a maximum of ten years if the president acted as president for two years or less in a term where another was elected as president, imposed by the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1951.

U.S. Representatives serve two-year terms. U.S. Senators serve six-years terms. Members of Congress of both chambers have no term limit.

Federal judges have different terms in office. Article I judges—such as those that sit on the United States bankruptcy courts, United States Tax Court, and United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and certain other federal courts and other forms of adjudicative bodies serve limited terms: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for 15 years, bankruptcy courts for 14. However, the majority of the federal judiciary—Article III judges, such as those of the Supreme Court, courts of appeal, and federal district courts—serve for life.

State and territories[edit]

The terms of office for officials in state governments varies according to the provisions of state constitutions and state law.

The term for state governors is four years in all states but Vermont and New Hampshire; the Vermont and New Hampshire governors serve for two years.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in January 2007 that among state legislatures [2]:

Among territories of the United States:

Members of Council of the District of Columbia serves a four-year term.

Canada[edit]

Currently, as in any other elected public office holder position in Canada, there is no limit on the number of times a Prime Minister can run for office. There is a recent article in the Hill Times advocating term limits for such positions, including the PM one.[1]

Terms of office by country[edit]

Heads of states
Terms of office of head of states.png
Upper houses
Terms of office of upper houses.png
Lower houses
Terms of office of lower houses.png
Legend
Not applicable Varies Until removed from office
>2 2 3 4 5 6 7 <7

Numbers in years unless stated otherwise. Note that some countries where fixed-term elections are uncommon, the legislature is almost always dissolved earlier than its expiry date. "Until removed from office" refers to offices that don't have fixed terms; in these cases, the officeholder(s) may serve indefinitely until death, abdication, resignation, retirement, or forcible removal from office (such as impeachment).

Country Head(s) of state Members of the upper house* Members of the lower (or sole) house
 Afghanistan 5 3, 4 and 5 5
 Albania 5 N/A 4
 Algeria 5 N/A 5
 Andorra Until removed from office (Bishop of Urgel); 5 (President of France) N/A 4
 Angola 5 N/A 4
 Antigua and Barbuda Until removed from office 5 5
 Argentina 4 6 4
 Armenia 5 N/A 5
 Australia Until removed from office 6 3
 Austria 6 4 to 6 5
 Azerbaijan 5 N/A 5
 Bahamas Until removed from office 5 5
 Bahrain Until removed from office N/A 4
 Bangladesh 5 N/A 5
 Barbados Until removed from office 5 5
 Belarus 5 4 4
 Belgium Until removed from office 5 4
 Benin 5 N/A 5
 Bhutan Until removed from office 5 5
 Bolivia 5 5 5
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 4 4 4
 Botswana 5 N/A 5
 Brazil 4 8 4
 Bulgaria 5 N/A 4
 Burkina Faso 5 N/A 5
 Burundi 5 5 5
 Brunei Until removed from office N/A Until removed from office
 Cambodia Until removed from office 6 5
 Cameroon 7 N/A 5
 Canada Until removed from office Until removed from office 5
 Cape Verde 5 N/A 5
 Central African Republic 6 N/A 5
 Chad 5 N/A 4
 Chile 4 8 4
 China 5 N/A 5
 Colombia 4 4 4
 Congo 7 6 5
 Comoros 7 N/A 5
 Ivory Coast 5 N/A 5
 Costa Rica 4 N/A 4
 Croatia 5 N/A 4
 Cuba 5 N/A 5
 Cyprus 5 N/A 5
 Czech Republic 5 6 4
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 5 5 4
 Denmark Until removed from office N/A 4
 Djibouti 6 N/A 5
 Dominica 5 N/A 5
 Dominican Republic 4 4 4
 Ecuador 4 N/A 4
 Egypt 4 N/A 5
 El Salvador 5 N/A 3
 Equatorial Guinea 7 N/A 5
 Estonia 5 N/A 4
 Ethiopia 6 N/A 5
 Fiji 5 5 5
 Finland 6 N/A 4
 France 5 6 5
 Gabon 7 6 5
 Gambia 5 N/A 5
 Georgia 5 N/A 4
 Germany 5 4 to 5 4
 Ghana 4 N/A 4
 Greece 5 N/A 4
 Grenada Until removed from office 5 5
 Guatemala 4 N/A 4
 Guinea 7 N/A 5
 Guinea-Bissau 5 N/A 5
 Guyana 5 N/A 5
 Haiti 5 6 4
 Honduras 4 N/A 4
 Hungary 5 N/A 4
 Iceland 4 N/A 4
 India 5 6 5
 Indonesia 5 5 5
 Iran Until removed from office N/A 4
 Iraq 4 N/A 4
 Ireland 7 5 5
 Israel 7 N/A 4
 Italy 7 5 5
 Jamaica Until removed from office 5 5
 Japan Until removed from office 6 4
 Jordan Until removed from office 4 4
 Kazakhstan 7 6 5
 Kenya 5 5 5
 Kiribati 4 N/A 4
 Kuwait Until removed from office N/A 4
 Kyrgyzstan 6 N/A 5
 Laos 5 N/A 5
 Latvia 4 N/A 4
 Lebanon 4 N/A 4
 Lesotho Until removed from office 5 5
 Liberia 6 9 6
 Liechtenstein Until removed from office N/A 4
 Lithuania 5 N/A 4
 Luxembourg Until removed from office N/A 5
 Macedonia 5 N/A 4
 Madagascar 5 4 4
 Malawi 5 N/A 5
 Malaysia 5 3 5
 Maldives 5 N/A 5
 Mali 5 N/A 5
 Malta 5 N/A 5
 Marshall Islands 4 N/A 4
 Mauritania 5 N/A 5
 Mauritius 5 N/A 5
 Mexico 6 6 3
 F.S. Micronesia 4 N/A 2, 4
 Monaco Until removed from office N/A 5
 Mongolia 4 N/A 4
 Moldova 4 N/A 4
 Montenegro 5 N/A 4
 Morocco Until removed from office N/A 5
 Mozambique 5 N/A 5
 Myanmar 5 5 5
 Namibia 5 N/A 5
 Nauru 4 N/A 3
   Nepal 5 N/A Until removed from office
 Netherlands Until removed from office 4 4
 New Zealand Until removed from office N/A 3
 Nicaragua 5 N/A 5
 Nigeria 5 N/A 5
 Niger 4 4 4
 North Korea 5 N/A 5
 Norway Until removed from office N/A 4
 Oman Until removed from office 4 4
 Pakistan 5 6 5
 Palau 4 4 4
 Palestine 4 N/A 4
 Panama 5 N/A 5
 Papua New Guinea Until removed from office N/A 5
 Paraguay 5 5* 5
 Peru 5 N/A 5
 Philippines 6 6 3
 Poland 5 4 4
 Portugal 5 N/A 4
 Qatar Until removed from office N/A N/A
 Romania 5 4 4
 Russia 6 N/A 5
 Rwanda 6 N/A 5
 Saint Kitts and Nevis Until removed from office N/A 5
 Saint Lucia Until removed from office N/A 5
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Until removed from office N/A 5
 Samoa Until removed from office N/A 5
 San Marino 0.5 (6 months) N/A 5
 São Tomé and Príncipe 5 N/A 4
 Senegal 5 5 5
 Serbia 5 N/A 4
 Seychelles 5 N/A 5
 Sierra Leone 5 N/A 5
 Singapore 6 N/A 5
 Slovakia 5 N/A 4
 Slovenia 5 N/A 4
 Solomon Islands Until removed from office N/A 4
 Somalia In transition N/A In transition
 South Africa 5 5 5
 South Korea 5 N/A 4
 South Sudan 5  ?  ?
 Spain Until removed from office 4 4
 Sri Lanka 6 N/A 6
 Sudan 5 6 6
 Suriname 5 N/A 5
 Swaziland Until removed from office 5 5
 Sweden Until removed from office N/A 4
  Switzerland 4 4 4
 Syria 7 N/A 4
 Taiwan 4 N/A 4
 Tajikistan 7 5 5
 Tanzania 5 N/A 5
 Thailand Until removed from office 6 4
 Timor-Leste 5 N/A 5
 Togo 5 N/A 5
 Tonga Until removed from office N/A 5
 Trinidad and Tobago 5 5 5
 Tunisia 5 6 5
 Turkey 5 N/A 4
 Turkmenistan 5 N/A 5
 Tuvalu Until removed from office N/A 4
 Uganda 5 N/A 5
 Ukraine 5 N/A 4
 United Arab Emirates Until removed from office Until removed from office 5
 United Kingdom Until removed from office Until removed from office 5
 United States 4 6 2
 Uruguay 5 5 5
 Uzbekistan 7 5 5
 Vanuatu 5 N/A 4
  Vatican City Until removed from office N/A Until removed from office
 Venezuela 6 N/A 5
 Vietnam 5 N/A 5
 Yemen 7 N/A 6
 Zambia 5 N/A 5
 Zimbabwe 5 5 5

*Excludes senators for life.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]