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OBA leader’s term could be doubled

The governing One Bermuda Alliance is mulling changes to its constitution which would extend the term of its leader from two to four years.

Meanwhile, Premier Craig Cannonier says he is confident he will continue on as leader after September when his first term ends.

In an interview with

The Royal Gazette last week, Mr Cannonier confirmed reports reaching our newsroom that extending the leader’s term to four years was being considered.

"I believe that's probably the right model. If a politician has to every two years be worried about the campaign to ensure that he is elected for another two years, that takes away from the mandate of moving this country forward," he said.

"And he or she may become more concerned about how do I get re-elected as opposed to how do I get this country moving in the right direction.

"Obviously we know the term of any party coming into power and that pretty much lines up with what I believe to be the case."

The OBA constitution already specifies that the leader's term can be extended by a two-thirds majority vote of the party's executive committee "to enable the Leader to stay in post in order to fight a general election".

And a constitutional change would have to be approved by a majority vote at an annual general membership meeting.

The Premier said he had not thought much about the prospect of being challenged at the party's next general conference, scheduled for September or October.

"This is about the here and now. I believe my security is ensuring that we go ahead and get the job done. Having to campaign internally — to me it’s all politics.

"I think that if we continue to do what we need to do — and the indicators show that we are moving in the direction — there's not much for me to be worried about."

In January, Finance Minister Richards said he would not be challenging the Premier for the leadership come September.

Mr Cannonier won the leadership at the party's first leadership contest in September 2011, beating contender Mr Richards by 344 votes to 330 after delivering a rousing speech promising the OBA would fix the Island's social and economic problems and not duck the issue of race.

He became the first non MP to lead a political party in Bermuda, taking over from now retired MP John Barritt who had been appointed interim leader when the party was formed in May that year,

It later emerged that the governing document provides for only MPs to be voted in as leader, drawing criticism from Mr Barritt who said in January that he was under the impression that the leadership was open to members at large.

But party chairman Thad Hollis said the provision was waived for the first election in order to broaden the pool of potential contenders, and the party was now open to changing the rules to broaden eligibility to include all its approved candidates.

Four-year leadership term? Premier Craig Cannonier officially opened Plough Weekend in King’s Square, St George, on Saturday.

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Published July 22, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 22, 2013 at 12:44 am)

OBA leader’s term could be doubled

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