A dual mandate is the practice in which elected officials serve in more than one elected or other public position simultaneously. This practice is sometimes known as double jobbing in Britain (not to be confused with double dipping in the United States, i.e. being employed by and receiving a retirement pension from the same public authority at the same time). Thus, if someone who is already mayor of a town or city councillor becomes elected as MP or senator at the national or state legislature and retains both positions, this is a dual mandate.
Dual mandates are sometimes prohibited by law. For example, in federal states, federal office holders are often not permitted to hold state office. In states with a presidential system of government, membership of the executive, the legislature, or the judiciary generally disqualifies a person from simultaneously holding office in either of the other two bodies. In states with bicameral legislatures, one usually cannot simultaneously be a member of both houses. The holder of one office who wins election or appointment to another where a dual mandate is prohibited must either resign the former office or refuse the new one.
A member of the European Parliament (MEP) may not be a member of the legislature of a member state. This dates from a 2002 European Union decision, which came into effect at the 2004 European elections in most member states, at the 2007 national election in the Republic of Ireland, and at the 2009 European elections in the United Kingdom.
Originally, MEPs were nominated by national parliamentarians from among their own membership. Prior to the first direct elections in 1979, the dual mandate was discussed. Some advocated banning it, arguing that MEPs who were national MPs were often absent from one assembly in order to attend the other (indeed, the early death of Peter Michael Kirk was blamed by his election agent on overwork resulting from his dual mandate). Others claimed that members with a dual mandate enhanced communication between national and European assemblies. There was a particular interest in the dual mandate question in Denmark: Eurosceptic Danish Social Democrats supported a compulsory dual mandate, to ensure that the state's MEPs expressed the same views as the national legislature, and the government of Denmark supported a compulsory dual mandate when the other eight member states supported an optional dual mandate. However, a 1976 European Parliament law preparing for the 1979 elections expressly permitted a dual mandate. In 1978 the German politician Willy Brandt suggested that one third of MEPs should be national MPs.
Dual mandates are rare in Australia. It is illegal to be a member of any state parliament and the Australian parliament simultaneously. A member of a state parliament seeking federal office must resign before seeking election to the Federal Parliament. It is possible but unusual to be a member of a local government and another parliament.
In 2004 Clover Moore became the independent member for Sydney in the NSW Parliament without resigning as Lord Mayor of Sydney. The issue of Moore holding both positions had brought the issue to the forefront in Australia and led the premier of New South Wales in 2012 to propose a new law, dubbed in the media as the "Get Clover bill", which banned this dual mandate. The proposed law was adopted and in September 2012 Moore resigned her NSW seat soon after she was reelected as mayor.
As in neighboring France, the culture of dual mandates is very strong in Belgium and that country currently has one of the highest percentage of dual mandate holders (MPs, aldermen, municipal councilors) in the world. During the 2003–2009 period, 87.3% of members of the Walloon (French-speaking) Parliament held dual mandates, followed by 86,5% in the Flemish (Dutch-speaking) Parliament, 82,0% in the Chamber of Representatives (the Federal lower house) and 68.9% in the Senate. During that same period, 76.5% of all European Parliament MPs from Belgium held dual mandates.
More than one fifth of all Belgian MPs were mayor at the same time with, by far, by the highest proportion (40%) to be found in the Walloon Parliament.
In Canada dual mandates are rare and are frequently barred by legislation at the federal, provincial, or territorial level. At the federal level, section 39 of the Constitution Act, 1867 prevents a Senator from being elected as a Member of Parliament; similarly, s. 65(c) of the Canada Elections Act makes members of provincial or territorial legislatures ineligible to be candidates to the House of Commons. At the provincial level, the situation varies from one province to another.
In other circumstances, an elected official almost always resigns their first post when elected to another. Dual representation has occurred occasionally when the member was elected to a second office shortly before their other term of office was due to expire anyway and whereby the short time frame would not merit the cost of a special by-election. In 1996, for example, Jenny Kwan continued to be a Vancouver city councillor after being elected to the provincial legislature. The British Columbia legislature had debated a "Dual Office Prohibition Act" which failed to pass second reading.
In the first few years after Confederation in 1867, however, double mandates were common. In the first House of Commons, there were fifteen Members of Parliament from Quebec who simultaneously held provincial seats, including the Premier Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau; there were also four members of Parliament from Ontario who also held provincial seats, including the first two Premiers, John Sandfield Macdonald and Edward Blake. Other prominent federal politicians with double mandates included George-Étienne Cartier, Christopher Dunkin, Hector Langevin, the second Premier of British Columbia Amor de Cosmos, and two members from Manitoba, Donald Smith and Pierre Delorme. Another famous example is that of the de facto leader of the Liberals, George Brown, who ran for both federal and provincial seats in 1867. Brown lost both elections, and soon thereafter began campaigning for the prohibition of double mandates.
The double mandate was prohibited from the start in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; it was abolished in Ontario in 1872, in Manitoba in 1873, and in 1873 the federal parliament passed a law against it; Quebec passed its own law abolishing it in 1874.
However, dual mandates within a province remained legal. From 1867 to 1985, 305 mayors were also members of the Quebec legislative assembly (MLA). The two best-known cases were those of S.N. Parent who was simultaneously mayor of Quebec City (1894-1906), MLA and Premier of Quebec (1900-1905). Longtime Montreal Mayor Camilien Houde (1928–32, 1938–40) was also simultaneously MLA for a total of 2 /1/2 years during his mandates as mayor. However that type of dual mandate had virtually ceased when laws adopted in 1978 and 1980 prohibited MLAs from holding any local mandate.
It is common for the MPs of the Finnish Parliament to hold a mandate as a member of their local municipal council as well. 79 percent of MPs elected to parliament in 2011 were also municipal council members.
The dual mandate is a common practice in the French Fifth Republic (1958–present) and holding up to five elective offices at once was at least theoretically possible until recently. Several laws to limit the practice, known as cumul des mandats, have been introduced in recent decades but 85% of all members of parliament (both chambers included) still held another mandate (typically at the communal or departmental level) in 2008. By far the most coveted local mandate is that of mayor, traditionally a highly prestigious function in France.
A hotly debated law to prohibit all dual mandates, to take effect in 2017, was adopted in July 2013. Following the adoption of the law, former President Sarkozy and other members of the opposition UMP party have declared that if elected in 2017, their party would revise or even revoke that law. Many Socialist Party MPs and senators have also expressed their unease with the law imposed by President Hollande and might welcome a review of the law. In the meantime, the ubiquitous 'député-maire' (MP and mayor) and 'sénateur-maire' are still familiar figures of the French political scene.
Following the June 2012 legislative elections, fully 85% of all National Assembly members (438 deputies out of 577) hold a double mandate (often as mayor of a mid- to large-size city) and 33 have four mandates. Currently, out of 348 senators, 152 are also mayors.
In Hong Kong, dual mandate is common for members of the territory's Legislative Council, who serve concurrently as members of one of the territory's eighteen district councils. Before the abolition of the two municipal councils in the territory in 1999, it was common for politicians to serve concurrently at all three levels.
The instability caused by the close result of the 1981 general election was exacerbated by the number of government TDs who also served as MEPs and for whom the opposition refused pairing when they were abroad. This led to further elections in February 1982 and again in November.
In 1991, cabinet ministers and junior ministers were prohibited from serving as local councillors. The prohibition was extended to other Oireachtas members by the Local Government (No. 2) Act 2003, an amendment to the Local Government Act 2001. Attempts to include it in the 2001 Act failed after a rebellion by Fianna Fáil backbenchers; the 2003 Act passed after a compensation package was agreed for those losing out.
The 2001 Act prohibited being a member of multiple county or city councils, or multiple town councils, or both a town and city council. Brian O'Shea was a member of both Waterford City Council and Waterford County Council until 1993. County councillors were allowed to sit on a town council, and many did so. The 2003 Act provided that a candidate elected simultaneously to a forbidden combination of local councils has three days to choose which seat to take up, with the other or others then being considered vacant. The Local Government Reform Act 2014 abolished town councils and instead subdivided most counties into municipal districts; the county council's members are the district councillors for all districts within the county.
Some members of the Irish republican party Sinn Féin held the office as a Member of The Northern Ireland Assembly and Member of Parliament within the respective houses. Martin McGuinness, former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland held the office as Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and simultaneously was a MP in the House of Commons. However in 2012 Sinn Féin committed to end dual jobbing; this resulted in all Sinn Féin members leaving the House of Commons, including McGuinness.
Per the Spanish Constitution, legislators in the regional assemblies of the Autonomous Communities are barred from being elected to a seat in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Cortes Generales. More precisely, regional legislators can run for the seat, but if elected they must choose between the regional and national parliaments. Nevertheless, members of lower tiers of the Spanish decentralized structure, such as provincial councillors or members of local councils, including mayors, can and have held seats in the Congress of Deputies. The rule barring regional legislators does not apply to the upper house of the Cortes, the Senate: in fact, regional legislatures are entitled to appoint a varying number of members from their ranks to the Senate, according to the population of the region. Currently, the Autonomous Communities appoint 56 Senators, the other 208 being directly elected in general elections.
At the EU level, prior to the 2009 European Parliament elections, there were a small number of members of the European Parliament who were also members of the House of Lords. However, it is now European law that a member of the European Parliament (MEP) may not be a member of the legislature of a member state. This, with regard to the United Kingdom, therefore applies to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as the constituent bodies forming that member state's legislature. As it is impossible to disclaim a life peerage, it has been ruled that peers (who sit as members of the House of Lords) must take a "leave of absence" from the Lords in order to be an MEP; this is also the procedure for when a peer is the UK's European Commissioner, which has in recent times usually been the case.
There have been members of the House of Commons also holding seats in the devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The November 2009 report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life into the controversy surrounding MPs' expenses noted that "double jobbing" was "unusually ingrained in the political culture" of Northern Ireland, where 16 of 18 MPs were MLAs, compared to one Scottish MP being an MSP (First Minister Alex Salmond), and no Welsh MPs being AMs. The Committee recommended that Westminster ban multiple mandates from the 2011 assembly elections. Parties in Northern Ireland agreed to a ban from the 2015 elections. The ability to dual mandate between the Assembly of Northern Ireland and the House of Commons (or the Irish Dáil Éireann) ended as from the Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2016 following the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. The Wales Act 2014 also applied a similar restriction on the National Assembly for Wales (in that its members cannot also be members of the House of Commons) as from the assembly election in 2016.
Nothing in UK law prohibits a member of the House of Commons or the House of Lords from being simultaneously a mayor. However, the practice is uncommon and usually involves a transition period from one elective office to another. Thus Ken Livingstone remained MP for Brent East until the dissolution of Parliament despite his election as Mayor of London a year before. Boris Johnson resigned his seat as MP for Henley on being elected mayor in 2008, but became an MP again in 2015, a year prior to the end of his second term as mayor (he did not seek a third term). Sadiq Khan, elected as the Labour mayor in the 2016 election, resigned his seat as MP for Tooting soon after his election to the mayoralty.
At a lower level, it is common for people to hold seats on both a district council and a county council. Several MPs have also retained their council seats, most often until the expiration of their terms; Mike Hancock simultaneously held a council seat and a seat in Parliament between his election to Parliament in 1997 and his defeat in the local elections in 2014.
The term dual mandate is also applied to the twin objectives of the Federal Reserve Bank: to control inflation and promote employment.
The practice is banned by the constitutions of many U.S. states, but as of 1992 it was still legal in Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. The U.S. Constitution prohibits members of the Senate or House from holding positions within the Executive Branch (Art. I, Sec. 6, cl. 2), and limits the president to his salary as chief executive, saying he may not "receive... any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them" (Art. II, Sec. 1, cl. 7).
In April 1984, Governor of Florida Bob Graham received legislation that passed unanimously in both houses of the Florida Legislature that would forbid public officials from receiving retirement pay and regular pay simultaneously for the same position.
In August 2008, Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich proposed legislation that would prohibit dual-office holding as part of changes to the state's ethics bill, stating that "dual government employment creates the potential for a conflict of interest because a legislator's duties to his or her constituents and his or her public employer are not always consistent." Critics, such as Representative Susana Mendoza, called the actions "spite" on the part of the governor.
Fulfilling a campaign pledge that he had made when first running for the New Jersey Legislature, Jack Sinagra sponsored a bill passed by the New Jersey Senate in 1992 that would ban the practice. At the time that the legislation first passed, there were some twenty elected officials who served in the New Jersey Legislature and another elected office, including Assemblyman Bill Pascrell, who was also mayor of Paterson, New Jersey; State Senator Ronald Rice, who also served on the Newark City Council; and Assemblyman John E. Rooney, who was also mayor of Northvale. These officials protested the proposed ban as interfering with the will of voters to elect officials as they see fit. A newspaper called former State senator Wayne R. Bryant the "king of double dipping" because he was collecting salaries from as many as four public jobs he held simultaneously.
Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine signed legislation in September 2007 that banned the practice statewide, but the 19 legislators holding multiple offices as of February 1, 2008, were grandfathered into the system and allowed to retain their positions. As of January 2013, only four of the nineteen (listed in bold) continue to hold a dual mandate.
- Name, Party-County – Second Public Office:
- Dana Redd, D-Camden – Councilwoman, Camden
- Nicholas Sacco, D-Hudson – Mayor, North Bergen
- Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen – Mayor, Wood-Ridge
- Robert Singer, R-Ocean – Committeeman, Lakewood
- Brian Stack, D-Hudson – Mayor, Union City
- Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester – Freeholder, Gloucester County
- John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester – Mayor, Paulsboro
- Ralph Caputo, D-Essex – Freeholder, Essex County
- Anthony Chiappone, D-Hudson – Councilman, Bayonne
- Ronald Dancer, R-Ocean – Mayor, Plumsted Township
- Joseph Egan, D-Middlesex – Councilman, New Brunswick
- Elease Evans, D-Passaic – Freeholder, Passaic County
- John McKeon, D-Essex – Mayor, West Orange
- Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester – Mayor, Washington Township
- Ruben Ramos, D-Hudson – Councilman, Hoboken
- Scott Rumana, R-Bergen – Mayor, Wayne
- Gary Schaer, D-Passaic – Councilman, Passaic
- Daniel Van Pelt, R-Ocean – Mayor, Ocean Township
- Joseph Vas, D-Middlesex – Mayor, Perth Amboy
- Poobah, colloquial term for the practice
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Sir Peter's own election agent has stated categorically that he died from pressure and overwork caused by his dual mandate as an MP at Westminster and a member in Strasbourg.
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The councillor lobby which stymied Noel Dempsey's plans to end the dual mandate
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The Local Government Bill 2000 proposed to abolish the dual mandate but the Act dropped the idea, only for it to be re-introduced — with a handy €12,800 sweetener — in 2003.
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