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In a governmental system, a party leader acts as the official representative of their
political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific political ideology ...
, either to a
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
or to the electorate. Depending on the country, the individual colloquially referred to as the "leader" of a political party may officially be
party chair {{Party politics In politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pro ...
,
secretary A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busin ...
, or the highest political office. The party leader is often responsible for managing the party's relationship with the general public and leading the competition against political rivals, similar to the role of a party spokesperson. As such, they will take a leading role in developing and communicating
party platforms A political party platform, party program, or party manifesto is a formal set of principle goals which are supported by a political party or individual candidate, in order to appeal to the general public, for the ultimate purpose of garnering th ...
to the electorate. In many
representative democracies Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song ...
, party leaders compete directly for high political office. It is thus typical in such states (notably in the
Westminster system The Westminster system or Westminster model is a type of parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ...
) for the party leader to seek election to the
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
and, if elected, to simultaneously serve as the party's
parliamentary leader A parliamentary leader is a political title or a descriptive term used in various countries to the person leading a caucus (or parliamentary group) in a legislative body, whether it be a national or sub-national legislature. A party leader may be ...
. In several countries utilizing the
parliamentary system A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
, if the party leader's political party emerges with a
majority A majority, also called a simple majority to distinguish it from similar terms (see the "Related terms" section below), is the greater part, or more than half, of the total.See dictionary definitions of "majority" aMerriam-Webster
of seats in parliament after a
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
, is the leading party in a
coalition government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election An election is a ...
, or (in some instances) is the largest party in a Minority government, minority parliament, that party's leader often serves as the prime minister. In countries using the Westminster system, the leader of the largest Parliamentary opposition, political party not within the government serves as the Leader of the Opposition, leader of the opposition.


Examples


Canada

In Canada, the leaders of all major List of political parties in Canada, political parties are chosen during their respective political party's leadership conventions upon the completion of a leadership election. Exceptions to this process sometimes occur when Members of Parliament leave their former party to form a new party; examples of this include when Jean-François Fortin (politician), Jean-François Fortin quit the Bloc Québécois to form Strength in Democracy in 2014 and when Maxime Bernier quit the Conservative Party of Canada, Conservative Party to form the People's Party of Canada in 2018.


China

The leaders of Communist party, communist parties often hold the title of general secretary (e.g. General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) and the officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China. On 15 November 2012, Xi Jinping was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, 18th Communist Party national congress.


Germany

The party organizations themselves and also their representatives (such as the chairperson, who is the party leader, and other board members) play a much more prominent role in German politics than they do in many other countries, where the parties are mainly represented by their members and leaders in government. Although the party leaders often also hold important public offices (such as Minister (government), government minister or
parliamentary leader A parliamentary leader is a political title or a descriptive term used in various countries to the person leading a caucus (or parliamentary group) in a legislative body, whether it be a national or sub-national legislature. A party leader may be ...
), those roles are clearly separated, even by law. Consequently, it does occasionally happen that the leaders of a German party are not even members of parliament, such as Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, who are incumbent the chairpersons of the (governing) Social Democratic Party of Germany, Social Democrats. This sometimes leads to open conflicts between the party leadership, its parliamentary group and its members of government.


Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the party leaders are the most senior politicians within the List of political parties in the Netherlands, political parties in the Netherlands. The leaders outwardly act as the 'figurehead' and the main representative of the party. Within the party, they must ensure political consensus. At election time the leader is always the Lijsttrekker (top candidate) of the Party-list proportional representation, party list. Outside election time the leaders most often serve as Parliamentary leader of their party in the House of Representatives (Netherlands), House of Representatives, some party leaders opt to serve in the cabinet as a Minister (government), minister. In the Third Rutte cabinet, the only party leader in the cabinet was Prime Minister Mark Rutte the Leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, leader of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), while the leaders of the other parties in the coalition: Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma, Democrats 66 (D66) leader Alexander Pechtold and Christian Union (Netherlands), Christian Union (CU) leader Gert-Jan Segers opted to remain as Parliamentary leaders in House of Representatives.


Taiwan

In the Republic of China, all of the political party leaders are elected by party chairmanship elections. The leader of the main ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Cho Jung-tai was elected in the 2018 DPP chairmanship by-election on 6 January 2019. The leader of the main opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) Wu Den-yih was elected in the 2017 Kuomintang chairmanship election on 20 May 2017.


South Korea

In the Republic of Korea, Representatives of most political parties are elected through elections of party members. The representative of the Democratic Party of Korea is Song Young-gil, who was elected in May 2021, and the representative of the conservative opposition People Power Party (South Korea), PPP is Lee Jun-seok, a famous young politician who was elected in June 2021. In the party's presidential election, it is also elected through public opinion polls, not party members.


United Kingdom

The method of selection of the party leader varies from party to party, though often it will involve an election involving all or part of the party membership. In some parties, only incumbent members of the parliamentary party, or particular party office-holders, may vote; in others, such as the Labour Party (UK), British Labour Party, though the entire membership is eligible to vote, some electors may have a much larger share of the vote than others (see also Superdelegate for a similar concept). If only one candidate emerges, they are said to be "elected by acclamation" or "ratified" by the general membership (sometimes the term "anointed" occurs informally or in media discourse). The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, gained the position on 24 July 2019; he has served as the party leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party since 23 July 2019. Keir Starmer, Sir Keir Starmer is Leader of the Labour Party (UK), leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition.


United States

If elected, political parties have party leaders in the executive branch of the United States government. The President of the United States, President becomes the de facto leader of their respective political party once elected, and the Vice President of the United States, Vice President likewise holds a leadership role as both the second-highest executive officer and the Presiding Officer of the United States Senate, President of the Senate. However, major parties also generally have a National Committee as their governing body, which has separate leadership roles. The legislative branch, otherwise known as the United States Congress, is made up of the upper chamber, the United States Senate, Senate, and the lower chamber, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, with party-elected leaders in each. The leader of the party with most of the representation (sometimes called the party-in-power) in each case is known as the majority leader, whereas the leader of the opposing party with the most members is known as the minority leader. Party leaders in the United States Senate have been elected by their respective political parties' caucuses since 1913. They include President of the Senate Kamala Harris, President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate Patrick Leahy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin on the Democratic side, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Thune on the Republican side. Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives, The party leaders of the House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in the House by secret ballot. The Republican Party is represented in the House by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California politician), Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, whereas the Democratic Party is represented by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. In the House of Representatives, the most powerful official is the House-elected Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Speaker, who is Nancy Pelosi of the Democratic Party. Jaime Harrison serves as the chair of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, while Ronna McDaniel serves as the chair of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party.


See also

*Party secretary *Party chair


References

{{Reflist Leaders of political parties, Organizational structure of political parties