Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Election debates from around the world

I have just seen BBC News: New pressure for TV leader debate which reports that the prospect of the next election featuring a debate between the party leaders is getting stronger because Sky News is willing to go ahead with one even if any one leader refuses to take part.

Such debates are most familiar from US Presidential elections, but they take place in many countries around the world, including countries that have a similar parliamentary system to the UK where leaders regularly go head to head in parliament. Here are a few examples courtesy of YouTube:

First we have the start of the leaders' debate from the 2007 Australia election, featuring John Howard (Liberal/National Coalition) and Kevin Rudd (Labor):
Next we have the start of the leaders' English speaking debate from the 2008 Canadian election featuring Stéphane Dion (Liberal), Gilles Duceppe (Bloc Québécois), Stephen Harper (Conservative), Jack Layton (New Democratic Party) and Elizabeth May (Green):

UPDATE: This clip is no longer available on YouTube but can be seen on the CBC website. Many thanks to forumer Severian for this link.

And thirdly we have the start of the leaders' debate from the 2008 New Zealand election featuring Helen Clark (Labour) and John Key (National):
Quite a mixture of formats but all show that the basics can work and offer a broader scope than parliamentary questions. (And the Canadian line-up including Duceppe suggests it would be possible to include the Scottish Nationalists & Plaid Cymru, although I'm not sure if the Northern Ireland parties could be so easily incorporated.)

So will we have a leader' debate at the next election? We shall see...


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