Good arguments are made both for and against term limits. I've often wondered about a hybrid system: you can be elected as many times as you can manage it, but never to two terms in a row. This would allow deeply invested and experienced people to remain in the system, but would also eliminate incumbent advantages.

I believe something like this was used for gubernatorial elections in Tennessee prior to 1980, but I don't know any more details. Where have similar systems been tried? How do they typically work out?

  • Virginia's governor cannot succeed himself, but so far only Linwood Holton won twice. Jul 14, 2013 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


The President of the Russian Federation is limited by the Constitution to two successive terms, but there's no limit for total terms. The system is currently being exploited by incumbent Vladimir Putin, who has been in office since 1999, alternating between Premiership and Presidentship:

  • 1999 - 2000: First Premiership (also acting President since 31 December 1999, after Yeltsin's resignation),
  • 2000 - 2004: First Presidential term (Prime Minister: Mikhail Kasyanov),
  • 2004 - 2008: Second Presidential term (Prime Ministers: Viktor Khristenko, Mikhail Fradkov, Viktor Zubkov)
  • 2008 - 2012: Second Premiership (President: Dmitry Medvedev),
  • 2012 - present: Third Presidential terms (Prime Minister: Dmitry Medvedev)

While this isn't exactly the answer you were looking for, I think it exposes a notable flaw in the system: The same person can retain power indefinitely, with the help of a few puppets that keep his/her chair warm during the interims. This is more evident after 2008, with Putin and Medvedev switching places, however Zubkov was also considered for the Presidency in 2008, when Putin had to step down after two consecutive terms. Putin went with Medvedev in the end, but Zubkov wasn't completely left out: He succeeded Medvedev as chairman of Gazprom.

  • There is no "Prime Minister" in Russia :)
    – user4012
    Jul 15, 2013 at 1:14
  • 1
    @DVK Yes, there is ;) On a more serious note, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation is a mouthful...
    – yannis
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:16
  • try saying that in Russian :)
    – user4012
    Jul 15, 2013 at 11:05

The Republic of Texas prohibited presidents from serving consecutive terms, but had no limit on non-consecutive terms. Sam Houston served twice.

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