Term of office
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|The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Term of office or term in office is the length of time a person (usually a politician) serves in a particular office.
|This article is outdated. (May 2015)|
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 4 May 1979 to 28 November 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.
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.
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.
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
- 44 states had terms of office for the lower house of the state legislature (often termed the state House of Representatives) at two years. Five (Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and North Dakota) had terms of office at four years. (The Nebraska Legislature is an exception and has a unicameral legislature with members elected for four years.)
- 37 states had terms of office for the upper house of the state legislature (often termed the state Senate) at four years. Twelve (Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont) had terms of office at two years.
- In the American Samoa Fono, members of the House serve two-year terms while members of the Senate serve six-year terms.
- Members of both chambers of the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico have four-year terms.
- Members of both chambers of the Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth Legislature have two-year terms.
- The Legislature of Guam and Legislature of the Virgin Islands are unicameral and Senators have two-year terms.
Members of Council of the District of Columbia serves a four-year term.
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.
Terms of office by country
|Heads of state|
|Not applicable||Varies||Until removed|
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|
|23x15px Afghanistan||5||3, 4 and 5||5|
|23x15px Andorra||Until removed from office (Bishop of Urgel); 5 (President of France)||N/A||4|
|23x15px Antigua and Barbuda||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Australia||Until removed from office||6||3|
|23x15px Austria||6||4 to 6||5|
|23x15px Bahamas||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Bahrain||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Barbados||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Belgium||Until removed from office||5||4|
|23x15px Bhutan||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Bosnia and Herzegovina||4||4||4|
|23x15px Burkina Faso||5||N/A||5|
|23x15px Brunei||Until removed from office||N/A||Until removed from office|
|23x15px Cambodia||Until removed from office||6||5|
|23x15px Canada||Until removed from office||Until removed from office||5|
|23x15px Cape Verde||5||N/A||5|
|23x15px Central African Republic||6||N/A||5|
|23x15px Ivory Coast||5||N/A||5|
|23x15px Costa Rica||4||N/A||4|
|23x15px Czech Republic||5||6||4|
|23x15px Democratic Republic of the Congo||5||5||4|
|23x15px Denmark||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Dominican Republic||4||4||4|
|23x15px El Salvador||5||N/A||3|
|23x15px Equatorial Guinea||7||N/A||5|
|23x15px Germany||5||4 to 5||4|
|23x15px Grenada||Until removed from office||5||5|
|Template:Country data ISL||4||N/A||4|
|Template:Country data IND||5||6||5|
|Template:Country data IRN||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|Template:Country data IRQ||4||N/A||4|
|Template:Country data ISR||7||N/A||4|
|Template:Country data JAM||Until removed from office||5||5|
|Template:Country data JPN||Until removed from office||6||4|
|Template:Country data JOR||Until removed from office||4||4|
|Template:Country data KAZ||7||6||5|
|Template:Country data KEN||5||5||5|
|Template:Country data KIR||4||N/A||4|
|Template:Country data KGZ||6||N/A||5|
|23x15px Lesotho||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Liechtenstein||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Luxembourg||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Marshall Islands||4||N/A||4|
|23x15px F.S. Micronesia||4||N/A||2, 4|
|23x15px Monaco||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Morocco||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|File:Flag of Nepal.svg Nepal||5||N/A||Until removed from office|
|23x15px Netherlands||Until removed from office||4||4|
|23x15px New Zealand||Until removed from office||N/A||3|
|Template:Country data PRK||5||N/A||5|
|23x15px Norway||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Oman||Until removed from office||4||4|
|23x15px Papua New Guinea||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Qatar||Until removed from office||N/A||N/A|
|23x15px Saint Kitts and Nevis||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Saint Lucia||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Samoa||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px San Marino||0.5 (6 months)||N/A||5|
|23x15px São Tomé and Príncipe||5||N/A||4|
|23x15px Sierra Leone||5||N/A||5|
|23x15px Solomon Islands||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Somalia||In transition||N/A||In transition|
|23x15px South Africa||5||5||5|
|23x15px South Sudan||5||?||?|
|23x15px Spain||Until removed from office||4||4|
|23x15px Sri Lanka||6||N/A||6|
|23x15px Swaziland||Until removed from office||5||5|
|23x15px Sweden||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px Thailand||Until removed from office||6||4|
|23x15px Tonga||Until removed from office||N/A||5|
|23x15px Trinidad and Tobago||5||5||5|
|23x15px Tuvalu||Until removed from office||N/A||4|
|23x15px United Arab Emirates||Until removed from office||Until removed from office||5|
|23x15px United Kingdom||Until removed from office||Until removed from office||5|
|23x15px United States||4||6||2|
|23x16px Vatican City||Until removed from office||N/A||Until removed from office|