I'm told that in Great Britain the Parliament is elected for a five year period. In America...
the government is elected for four, with any particular president having to step down after two periods of four, if re-elected. In Australia, the period is only three years. What do you think is the optimum period for a government to serve?
I think the important thing is the ability (by democratic means) of the people to remove the government if it is useless. If it is doing an excellent job (whoops, sorry, I forget we were talking about politicians) it should stay as long as it needs. If you're good at your job, you're employer doesn't get the board together to vote whether to give you another 5 years tenure.
As for Great Britain, a new parliament must be elected, at least, every 5 years, but an election can be held earlier than the 5-year maximum. I think that the earlier US system of having the expectation (but not the requirement) that presidents step down after two terms was best. That way, it's expected that they go after two terms, but you don't have the lame duck effect that you get if you impose a term limit. In a democratic country, I think that ten years is long enough for anyone to serve, executive, lawmaker, judge, or bureaucrat.
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