I saw there are quite a few questions about Conservative Party leadership elections. These are elections in which party members choose their party leader.

A few existing tags come to mind, but they don't fit perfectly:

  • The tag is normally used to refer to elections in which the general public votes for candidates representing different parties.

  • The tag covers elections in which party leaders are chosen, but the term primary is not common everywhere. I think it's mostly a US politics term, though there may be other countries that also it.

I can see two options, but they each have their pros and cons:

  1. Since UK party leadership elections are the UK equivalent of primaries in the US, the tag could be expanded to include UK leadership elections and other internal party elections in other countries. The main tag could be renamed to be more inclusive and country-specific names could be added as tag synonyms.

    • The benefit of this option is that similar processes of electing party leaders are grouped within the same tag.

    • The downside is that we can only have one tag name which shows as the main tag. When talking about the US, the term primary makes the most sense though it does not for some other countries. A generic term may seem out of place for most countries.

  2. Create a new tag which covers leadership elections for countries where that term is actually used. Questions about primaries keep using the tag.

    • The benefit of this option is that the tag makes sense on those questions.

    • The downside is that questions covering similar processes in different countries are across two different tags.

  • 1
    Have you considered the existing [party-operations] tag?
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 3, 2022 at 12:16
  • @RickSmith I wasn't aware of that one. Looking at it, I'm not really sure about its scope; it seems rather broad. I think a leadership election might be specific enough to warrant a dedicated tag. Party operations might work but I think the scope should be defined more explicitly.
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 3, 2022 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


There are 14 questions referencing 3 countries that use the term "leadership election". Most could use a tag and at least one (and likely others) could use the tag..

I think a separate tag is justified.

The problem I see with merging "leadership election" questions into is in the generality of "primary". In the US, specifically, there are several types of primaries. While may apply to other countries (some questions use the tag), the characteristics of primaries and leadership elections, I feel, are sufficiently different. A separate tag would serve to better connect askers and answerers.

As I see it, the relationship is:

--> -->

rather than

--> -->

That is, leadership elections are central to the operation of parties rather than just another type of election.

  • 2
    Thanks. That's also a really good point about primaries always being tied to a specific election. I know Joe W also made that point, but it only really sunk in after seeing that flow chart and highlighting that leadership elections are always tied to a party. That also makes it easy to differentiate between the two terms (and thus determining which tag is needed).
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 3, 2022 at 16:34

You are wrong about what is for, it is not about party leadership but deciding who will be on the ballot in the main election

Public elections to decide which candidate represents a party at the main election

While I am not sure about the rest of the world the US primaries are used for every partisan election that have 2 or more people from the same party who wish to run for that office. It has nothing to do with party leadership at all and that is handled. In the US party leadership is handled within the party and is not a public choice.

Addressing the comment about closed versus open party primaries and it should be remembered in both systems it is possible for non party members to vote with a little work. In an open system it is still voting for which member of the party should represent them and is about the party even if anyone can vote. In a close system it is still possible for someone to switch parties and cast a vote just like they would in an open system. This is important to remember in a two party system when one party doesn't have to worry about who wins and members can switch to the other party to vote as please.

Some clarification on what I mean by partisan election based on how it has been used in the US where I live.

partisan election: party affiliations are listed on the ballot is used for narrowing down the candidates in primary elections.

non-partisan election: no party election is listed on the ballot and it is not used in narrowing down candidates in primary elections.

Based on a comment from Rick Smith on the question something like a could work for this and it could cover deciding party leadership no matter how it is done. It should be able to leadership elections no matter how they are decided.

  • 2
    Fair enough, you also have primaries for lower level elections which clearly doesn't indicate the highest position in the party. I hadn't thought of it that way. Of course in other countries there will also be some sort of process to determine who gets to run for lower level office in case there are more candidates than spots within the same party. I guess looking at it that way, it makes more sense to group it under the [party-operations] tag Rick mentioned. That way it also covers questions about determining the order of candidates on a ballot for city council elections, for example.
    – JJJ Mod
    Sep 3, 2022 at 14:47
  • Some primaries are open in some US states, thus are specifically non-partisan elections.
    – Rick Smith
    Sep 3, 2022 at 14:52
  • @RickSmith Don't forget even in a close primary people are allowed to switch parties before the election and vote in the one they chose which can have the same impact as an open primary.
    – Joe W
    Sep 3, 2022 at 14:58
  • @RickSmith Sorry for the double ping but I also added info on how I am using partisan versus non-partisan for my answer.
    – Joe W
    Sep 3, 2022 at 15:08

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