AskDefine | Define candidate

Dictionary Definition

candidate

Noun

1 a politician who is running for public office [syn: campaigner, nominee]
2 someone who is considered for something (for an office or prize or honor etc.) [syn: prospect]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

  • From candidatus meaning "a person who is standing for public office", the perfect passive participle of the verb candidare, which in turn comes from candidus meaning "candid" or "white", in reference to Roman candidates wearing bleached white togas as a symbol of purity at a public forum.

Noun

  1. A person who is running in an election or who is applying to a position for a job.
  2. A participant in an examination.

Derived terms

Translations

Person running in an election
Participant in an examination

Italian

Noun

candidate
  1. Plural of candidata

Verb

candidate
  1. Form of Second-person plural present tense, candidare
  2. Form of Second-person plural imperative, candidare#Italian|candidare

Extensive Definition

A candidate is the prospective recipient of an award or honor or a person seeking or being considered for some kind of position; for example:
  • to be elected to an office — in this case a candidate selection procedure occurs.
  • to receive membership in a group
Nomination is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award.
The act of being a candidate in a race is called a candidacy.
"Candidate" is a derivative of the Latin "candida" (white). In Ancient Rome, people running for political office would usually wear togas chalked and bleached to be bright white at speeches, debates, conventions, and other public functions.

Candidates in elections

In the context of elections for public office in a representational partisan democracy, a candidate who has been selected by a political party is normally said to be the nominee of that party. The party's selection (that is, the nomination) is typically accomplished either based on one or more primary elections according to the rules of the party and any applicable election laws.
In the context of elections for public office in a direct democracy, a candidate can be nominated by any eligible person -- and if parliamentary procedures are used, the nomination has to be seconded, i.e., receive agreement from a second person.
In some non-partisan representative systems (e.g., administrative elections of the Bahá'í Faith), no nominations (or campaigning, electioneering, etc.) take place at all, with voters free to choose any person at the time of voting--with some possible exceptions such as through a minimum age requirement--in the jurisdiction. In such cases, it is not required (or even possible) that the members of the electorate be familiar with all of the eligible persons in their area, though such systems may involve indirect elections at larger geographic levels to ensure that some first-hand familiarity among potential electees can exist at these levels (i.e., among the elected delegates).
A person may also be directly nominated for a post without having to be elected.

Presumed advantages of nominations

  • Although a nominee need not have sought appointment himself or herself (presumably the existence of a system of nominating others implies that a person desiring the position would not (or could not) necessarily seek out a post themselves), nominations frequently occur in the context of elections with the active awareness of the nominee. An awareness beforehand of the willingness of the would-be candidate to accept the post might be seen as at least a time-saving advantage and an indicator of their confidence in being able to handle the job (if not a minimal indicator in their competence to handle the job).
  • Having a narrowed down set of choices would allow people to study the positions, character, etc. of the nominated choices before making their choice.
  • In typically bi-partisan systems, the competitive process is seen to promote moderate candidates (as they are believed to be able to have the best chance to capture the vote for their party and have a broader appeal across the voting spectrum).

Presumed disadvantages of nominations

  • The nomination process may limit the choices open to the voters at the time of voting.
  • The limited number of choices may lead to voter disenfranchisement and lackluster participation.
  • Nominations (and the often associated electioneering and campaigning) are seen to more often elect self-aggrandizing, self-seeking, and deal-making individuals, instead of humble, selfless, and conscience-voting/independent-minded persons. As such, some often less assertive or media-shy (yet potentially capable) groups such as women, certain ethnic groups, or skilled technocrats may tend to be overlooked in such a process, especially when the nomination process is allowed to be followed by campaigning.

References

candidate in German: Kandidat
candidate in Spanish: Nominación
candidate in Persian: کاندیدا
candidate in Italian: Nomination
candidate in Malay (macrolanguage): Calon
candidate in Dutch: Verkiezingskandidaat
candidate in Dutch: Nominatie

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

addict, agent, also-ran, applicant, appointee, aspirant, aspirer, assignee, baby kisser, bidder, campaigner, claimant, collector, coveter, dark horse, defeated candidate, deputy, desirer, devotee, dud, entrant, fancier, favorite son, freak, hankerer, has-been, hopeful, lame duck, licensee, lover, nominee, office seeker, petitioner, political hopeful, possibility, postulant, presidential timber, prospect, runner, running mate, seeker, selectee, solicitant, solicitor, stalking-horse, stumper, suitor, suppliant, supplicant, votary, wanter, whistle-stopper, wisher, yearner
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