Home > Austenasia > Electoral reforms for general elections

Electoral reforms for general elections

Saturday 28th November saw Parliament pass legislation establishing a regular schedule for general elections and preventing Prime Ministers from running for a third consecutive term without parliamentary approval.

Under the 2008 Constitution, general elections were to take place every three years, on January 1st. After the 2009 general election, the next was scheduled to take place on 1 January 2012, but the 2011 Constitution came into force before this date was reached.

Under the current 2011 Constitution, the date of a general election is decided at the discretion of the Monarch or Prime Minister, and can take place anywhere from six months to four years after the previous one.

Saturday’s Act of Parliament has added a restriction to this clause, to the effect that the full range of dates constitutionally available can only be considered in an emergency; otherwise, under ordinary circumstances, general elections are to take place on a day between the 1st and 12th of February every four years.

This provides greater certainty regarding the future, with the next general election now scheduled to take place in early February 2024.

A second reform affects the ability of a Prime Minister to run for three or more consecutive terms. Although not a term limit in a strict sense, in future, a Prime Minister who has served more than seven of the past eight years in office will have to seek a vote of approval from the House of Representatives in order to stand for re-election.

No limits on consecutive terms have previously been applied. The only requirements to run in a general election are to be a sitting Representative with the (never before refused) approval of the Monarch; requirements which also have to be met by a Prime Minister running for re-election.

The longest serving Prime Minister in Austenasia’s history was Lord Admiral Joseph Kennedy. He held office from 4 March 2015 to 13 February 2020, just three weeks shy of five years.

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