Salvation Army Leaders Gather at High Council to Elect New General


Senior Salvation Army leaders from around the world are currently in London, England, to elect a new General, who will serve as The Salvation Army’s new international leader. The 2013 High Council consists of 118 members (62 women and 56 men) made up of the Chief of Staff, all the active commissioners and territorial leaders (some territories are led by colonels),

The basics of the High Council are embedded in law but each gathering has a large degree of procedural freedom. The election of a president, vice president, chaplain and tellers is usually followed by a day or two establishing the procedures that will be followed in electing the General. In the past, nominations – made in secret – have been needed from three members for a person to be put forward for election. In theory, any Salvation Army officer can be nominated, but the reality is that all those with the requisite experience of leadership and ministry will already be members of the High Council.

What usually follows is that a set of questions is put together by a questions committee. This one set of questions is given to everyone that has accepted the nomination to stand for election (and, where appropriate, questions are also submitted to nominees’ spouses). The nominees prepare written responses which are then shared with the entire High Council.

The final voting is by secret ballot, with more than a two-thirds majority needed to win the election, unless it goes to a fourth vote, and subsequent votes if necessary where a majority will be enough. After each round, the nominee with the lowest number of votes drops out.

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