Exiting the political stage: exploring the impact on representative democracy

  • Jane Roberts
Original Article


Political exit is relatively under-researched. This paper examines the experiences of politicians leaving political office through different routes, the impact on individual politicians, their partners and family, and crucially examines the implications for representative democracy. The paper explores the experience of the transition from political office drawing on empirical research in which 41 interviews were conducted with politicians who had left office, either having been defeated or having chosen not to stand again, their partners, and with current politicians about their thinking on their own future exit from office. This paper then focuses on the wider implications of political exit. It argues that the conditions into which politicians are elected and the smoothness or otherwise with which they can leave office have wider implications for representative democracy. It argues that for a healthy, sustainable democracy, the route into and out of political office should be less problematic.


Political exit Leaving office Retirement Loss Political class Democratic rotation 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Open University Business SchoolMilton KeynesUK

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