chapter  7
Political Recruitment
Pages 21

Political recruitment is the process by which individuals secure or are enlisted in the roles of office-holders in the political system, mainly political and administrative office, but in some cases including other office-holders, such as members of the judiciary, the police and the military. Most studies of political recruitment tend to concentrate on political office-holders, such as presidents, prime ministers, ministers, members of legislatures, or local councillors. Indeed, there is a considerable though not exclusive stress on elective office. This is understandable, but unfortunate for two reasons. First, some of the most important offices mentioned above are not elective. For example, in most parliamentary systems the prime minister normally holds office by virtue of being leader of the largest single party represented in the legislature, whether that party has an absolute majority or is part ofa coalition. It could be said that prime ministers are indirectly elected, since in certain countries like Britain the electorate effectively has a choice between the leaders of two major parties, but this ignores changes of leadership between elections, implies that electoral behaviour is solely or predominantly determined by a choice between leaders rather than parties or policies or other factors, and takes no account of post-election or inter-election coalition formation. In most systems, moreover, ministers or political heads of government departments are appointed, not elected.