General Question

rojo's avatar

Worldwide, what is the average election campaign timeframe for a major officeholder?

Asked by rojo (15987 points ) November 11th, 2012

Here in the US it seems endless but what is it really? Is there a set point when you can “officially” start your run for the office of President?
Canada, how ‘bout y’all? Australia? Latvia? Norway? North Korea?

Please let me know?

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

In North Korea it is easy, cheap and requires no time at all. You need the right parent and complete
control of the military.

glacial's avatar

In Canada, there is not really a set time between elections, although it usually ends up being around every four years (hence, you’ll typically hear liberal Canadians say “only 3 years left to go!” when talking about our current prime minister). Technically it is fixed at 4 years, but the PM can call an election whenever he chooses – usually this will be somewhere around that 4 year mark, and usually after something very good for his reputation (so his chances of being re-elected are good) or something very bad (causing parliament to have had a vote of “no confidence”, and urging the PM to call for an election).

I don’t feel that we have the same “candidates start running for the next election as soon as they are elected” mentality that I often see described in the US, although there’s certainly room for that. I wonder if it is only because the US parties are so polarized that it happens there. Between elections, we watch new candidates being groomed, and we talk about the coming elections, but there doesn’t seem to be the same kind of pressure here. Maybe we’re just more content to let the government do its job between elections? I really don’t know. Right now, we have a very conservative (though Americans would laugh at that) PM, and a lot of people are unhappy with the direction he is taking the country in. So we talk about the leadership of the liberal-leaning parties, and how the next election will go… a lot of my friends are activists and they do what they can to raise awareness about issues… but I don’t see the candidates giving stump speeches yet, and because Harper has a majority government, he doesn’t need to please anyone but himself, so he’s not “running”. I suppose he could go for a third term, but I have a feeling that he won’t.

I’m curious to know whether other Canadians have the same view of this (i.e., about “running” between elections, not specific Canadian politics) as I do. Others may not see it the same way at all.

thorninmud's avatar

In France, the official kickoff for the presidential campaign is 12 days before the election. That’s when posters can go up and mailings can go out.

rooeytoo's avatar

Does it ever really stop anywhere? Except in a situation such as North Korea as @gailcalled point out. In Australia, it seems as if it is endless, there is unending posturing, name calling, innuendos and outright attacks.

bolwerk's avatar

Systems where elections are called by the head of state or head of government aren’t really that uncommon; the UK and Canada both seem to be examples, even if there are limits on how long the parliament can stay seated without an intervening election.

The American gerrymandering system seems much more offensive to me. Elections are fixed, but politicians more or less pick their voters. The U.S. House of Representatives probably should have lost a lot of Republikans the other day, if Obama’s victory combined with the Democrats’ gains in the U.S. Senate were an indication. Basically, the Dems more or less won when the option to gerrymander wasn’t there.

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El_Cadejo's avatar

@thorninmud How does that work out for you guys? I imagine it’d be nice only having to deal with all that crap for 12 days but I could also imagine them completely overwhelming your every sense with political stuff in those 12 days trying to make a difference.

thorninmud's avatar

@uberbatman Oh no, the campaigns are highly regulated. Media publicity is provided free of charge to the candidates (financed by the public), with every candidate guaranteed the same amount of coverage. So no media saturation takes place. The mailings, too, are put together by the government. Every voter receives a single packet that contains an identically-sized flyer from each candidate.

Total spending is capped at around $20 million per candidate for the first round, with an additional $25 million if a runoff is required. About half that is publicly financed.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@thorninmud wow, that sounds great compared to what we have to deal with over here.

thorninmud's avatar

@uberbatman No shit. Not only is the public spared the year-long harangue, but the candidates actually get to concentrate on doing the public’s business instead of fundraising half the time. Not to mention that private interests have much less leverage in a campaign where money makes little difference.

ton's avatar

In the Philippines its 1 month

rooeytoo's avatar

In Australia the PM just announced she will hold the election in Sept. So that is about 9 months. 9 months of Julia and Tony calling each other names, oh joy, I can hardly wait!

rojo's avatar

@rooeytoo I feel your pain. Hang in there.

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