Introduction — The Problem of Political Succession

  • John Gardner
Part of the China in Focus Series book series


In most modern nation-states, whatever their political complexion, one individual generally has the role of what Seweryn Bialer calls the ‘top leader’ in the simple sense that he or she possesses a greater measure of power than anyone else.1 In liberal democracies the top leader can easily be recognised by virtue of holding a major office of state, such as ‘President’ or ‘Prime Minister’, which invests the incumbent with a range of formal powers. Sometimes, as in the socialist states, the top leader’s position normally derives from command of the ruling Communist Party, and carries the title of ‘Chairman’, ‘First Secretary’, or ‘General Secretary’ (the exact nomenclature differs between parties and individual parties may change their titles from time to time).


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    S. Bialer, Stalin’s Successors, (London: Cambridge University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    R. Garside, Coming Alive! China After Mao, (London: André Deutsch, 1981).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    M. Rush, How Communist States Change Their Leaders, (London: Cornell University Press, 1974), pp. 13–14.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Gardner 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Gardner

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