Term of office
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Term of office refers to the length of time a person (usually a politician) serves in a particular office.
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)
- 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.
In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister has no term limits. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Monarch and remains in office so long as he/she can command the confidence of the House of Commons, which in practice equals being the leader of the party with the most number of seats. The current incumbent, Gordon Brown has a working majority of 66 seats in the current House of Commons.
Parliament has to be elected every five years at a maximum, though elections often take place more frequently, most usually every four years, such as 1979, 1983 and 1987, or 1997, 2001 and 2005. A general election is not legally obliged to take place in the UK until 2010.
The longest serving Prime Minister in Britain is Lord Liverpool serving between 1812 and 1827, while the shortest serving Prime Minister is 14th Earl of Home who was PM for 363 days, between 18th October 1963 until his defeat at the polls on 16th 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 can be held before this time but only if no administration can be formed.