This is question which seems to run through a number of stories we know you’ve been following and discussing. What kind of leader do you want? Do you want them to consult you as often as possible? Does it matter if they are charistmatic so long as their policies deliver?
Does a long-serving leader provide your country with a sense of stability? And do you mind what tone your leader takes with his or her opponents? These are some of the stories driving these questions…
1. The Iranian elections on Thursday.
This has jumped up the most read and most commented lists after the hostility between President Ahmadinejad and his would be successor. The voters are getting a choice between not just policies but styles as well.
2. Who next in Gabon?
President Omar Bongo ruled Gabon from 1967 until a few days ago. It’s unclear who take over though his son is tipped by some observers. I was interested to read that some people there wanted Pres Bongo gone, but now he has passed away, they say they miss the reassurance of his presence. Are there some benefits to long-term leaders? Do they provide a different and beneficial style of leadership?
3. Gordon Brown
The trouble he’s been in has been as much about his style of leadership as his policies. Is that fair? Does it really matter how he communicates if what he’s doing is effective?
4. Silvio Berlusconi
Now clearly the photos and the birthday party stories are hotly disputed, but the row about them both continues and it once again raises the split among Italians about the way that the PM leads Italy. His behaviour at the G20 photocall being one of many examples that make people love his personality or loathe it.
On top of this we have ongoing discussions about the contrast in leadershiop styles between Jacob Zuma and Thabo Mbeki, and Barack Obama and George Bush.
Do you want someone who takes decisions for your country or who consults all the time? Should they seem like one of us, or a person apart? (I can recall people saying in 2000 George Bush was someone they felt they could go for a beer with. But does that matter? And if it does, why?)
And does long-term service necessarily get in the way of citizens getting real influence?
(I remember many Libyans telling us on one show that they felt their system served them better than a regular democracy.)
OK, I’m off to bed. I’ll leave it to the team in London to expand on this. Let us know if you’re interested.