In India, according to Article 57 of the Constitution the President can be elected for the second term, but there is no restriction on him to contest for the third term. Our ex-President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad contested only twice and refused to contest for the third time. Thus he set a convention for not contesting for the third time.
In the Constitution of the Fifth Republic of France, which was adopted on September 28, 1958, there is no provision for the second term of the President. But the tenure of the President there is seven years, which is quite long.
There is no restriction on the re-election of the President in Russia, Italy, and in certain other countries of the world. The fact is that in case the tenure of the President is long, there is no need for giving him the right to re-election. If the tenure is five years or less, the President should have ‘the right to re-election. The President should not have the right to re-election for the third time, because it will make his tenure very long and he might establish an autocratic rule in the country.
Advantages of a single term:
The following are the advantages of a single term of the President:
(1) There is a great check on the personal ambitions of the President.
(2) If the President is allowed a single term, he will not have to worry about his re-election. Hence no time will be wasted in the preparation for his election for the next term, and he will be able to devote his time to the service of the country.
(3) If the President is not allowed to contest for the second term, he does not need to please everybody and thus he can perform his duties without any favour of fear.
(4) In the words of De Tocqueville, “The principle of re-eligibility renders the corrupt influence of elective government still more extensive and pernicious. It tends to degrade the political morality of the people and to substitute adroitness for patriotism”.
Disadvantages of the single term:
(1) In a single term, the country does not get the opportunity to take advantage of the services of an intelligent, experienced and a seasoned politician-President.
(2) There is no possibility of the continuity of policy in a single term.
Advantages of eligibility for re-election:
(1) The main advantage of re-election is that the country gets an opportunity to take advantage of the service of an able, experienced, intelligent and efficient President.
(2) There is possibility of continuity in foreign as well as in internal policy.
(3) An able President gets an opportunity for serving the country and proving the justification of his policies.
(4) If a provision is made in the Constitution for the re-election of the President, good politicians will be attracted towards this post. Hamilton has also supported this view saying that, “the desire for reward and fame is one of the strongest incentives to human conduct and the best security for the fidelity of mankind is to make them coincide with their duties.’
(5) The President will not go astray, if he is given the right to re-election. He does not misuse his power and render maximum service to the people, since he knows that he has to seek re-election. He tries to justify his home and foreign policy.
(6) If the President is not given the right to re-election, he will try to act arbitrarily. He, somehow or other, will try to extend his tenure. Hamilton has said. “An ambitious man, too, when he found himself seated on the summit of country’s honours; when he looked forward to the time at which he must descend from the exalted eminence forever. Such a man in such a situation would be more violently tempted to embrace favourable conjuncture for attempting the prolongation of his power”.
(7) If the President is not given the right to re-election, the nation will be deprived of the services of able persons. Within a period of four or five years a person is hardly able to understand and implement the policies fully. If the President is deprived of the right to re-election, the country is put to a great loss.
Judge Story has rightly said, “What could be more-strange than to declare at the moment when wisdom was acquired that the possession of it should no longer be enabled to use it for the very purpose for which it was required”.
Disadvantages of eligibility for re-election:
(1) It deprives other candidates of the right of election to the office of the President.
(2) There is a fear of the establishment of autocratic rule.
(3) Sometimes the Chief Executive, in order to be re-elected, tries to appease the majority party.