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1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election

  (Redirected from Liberal Democrats leadership election, 1999)

The 1999 Liberal Democrats leadership election was called following the resignation of Paddy Ashdown as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. There were five candidates and all members of the party were balloted using the Alternative Vote preference system. The election was won by Charles Kennedy, who served as leader until his resignation in 2006.

Liberal Democrats leadership election, 1999
← 1988 9 August 1999 2006 →
  Charles Kennedy MP (cropped).jpg Simon Hughes MP Liverpool cropped.jpg Official portrait of Lord Bruce of Bennachie crop 2.jpg
Candidate Charles Kennedy Simon Hughes Malcolm Bruce
First pref. 22,724 (44.6%) 16,233 (31.8%) 4,643 (9.1%)
Final pref. 28,425 (56.6%) 21,833 (43.4%) Eliminated

  Blank David Rendel - Newbury declaration.jpg
Candidate Jackie Ballard David Rendel
First pref. 3,978 (7.8%) 3,428 (6.7%)
Final pref. Eliminated Eliminated

Leader before election

Paddy Ashdown

Elected Leader

Charles Kennedy

The chief issue in the election was whether the party should continue its partial collaboration with the Labour Party, which had seen Ashdown and other senior Liberal Democrats appointed to a joint Cabinet committee on electoral reform. Most of the candidates were to various degrees sceptical about this approach, with Simon Hughes the most hostile and Charles Kennedy the strongest defender of Ashdown. The campaign was almost entirely free of bitterness and outspoken comments. Kennedy was generally favoured by the press because of his name recognition, which derived from his frequent appearances on light-hearted panel games on television.



Jackie BallardEdit

Supporters included:

Malcolm BruceEdit

Supporters included:

Simon HughesEdit

Supporters included:

Charles KennedyEdit

Supporters included:

David RendelEdit

Supporters included:


First round
Candidate Change Votes %
Charles Kennedy 22,724 44.6
Simon Hughes 16,233 31.8
Malcolm Bruce 4,643 9.1
Jackie Ballard 3,978 7.8
David Rendel 3,428 6.7
Turnout 51,006 62
Second ballot required
Second round
Candidate Change Votes %
Charles Kennedy +895 23,619 46.5
Simon Hughes +1,145 17,378 34.2
Malcolm Bruce +598 5,241 10.3
Jackie Ballard +627 4,605 9.1
David Rendel −3,428
Not transferable +163 163
Third ballot required

As a result of the second round, Rendel was eliminated. The remaining four candidates would face each other in a third round.

Third round
Candidate Change Votes %
Charles Kennedy +1,545 25,164 49.7
Simon Hughes +1,982 19,360 38.3
Malcolm Bruce +827 6,068 12.0
Jackie Ballard −4,605
Not transferable +251 414
Third ballot required

As a result of the third round, Ballard was eliminated. The remaining three candidates would face each other in a final round.

Final round
Candidate Change Votes %
Charles Kennedy +3,261 28,425 56.6
Simon Hughes +2,473 21,833 43.4
Malcolm Bruce −6,068
Not transferable +334 748
Charles Kennedy elected


  • Colin Rosenstiel. "All-member ballot results". Liberal Democrats' election results 1998-2004. Archived from the original on 20 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-10.
  • David Boothroyd. "Liberal Party Leaders". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2006-01-11.

External linksEdit