Wikidata:WikiProject every politician/Political data model

Data Model for PoliticiansEdit

This is an attempt to document best practices for modelling data about politicians and the offices they have held. Ideally data should modelled in as consistent a manner as possible across different countries, so that queries that work in one place will also work with minimal changes elsewhere. This is still a work in progress, and discussion on different/better approaches is always very welcome.

Holding Political OfficeEdit

The core property for holding political office is position held (P39) (member of (P463) should not be used for this).

Several different approaches to position held (P39) statements are currently used, depending on the quality of data sources, and the richness of information required:

Approach 1Edit

Uses a single standard membership property, e.g. member of the European Parliament (Q27169), and no qualifiers. This is very common when bulk-importing data on politicians, e.g. from Wikipedia Categories, and is very useful base information.

position held (P39)
  member of the European Parliament (Q27169)
0 references
add reference

add value

[* NB: A list of the existing "Member of Country's Legislature" items can been seen on the List of National Legislatures page.]

Approach 2Edit

The position held (P39) statement is qualified with start time (P580) and end time (P582). This is a substantial improvement on Approach 1, as it lets us know when someone held office, not simply that they did hold office.

position held (P39)
  member of the European Parliament (Q27169)
start time 20 July 2004
end time 21 October 2013
0 references
add reference

add value

Approach 3Edit

Similar to Approach 2, but where a specific item relating to the holding that office exists, and can hold extra information.

Approach 4Edit

Note: This approach may not be applicable in all scenarios, depending on the structure of a specific legislature and/or of existing data. It is generally advisable to start a discussion before converting data from one approach to another.

Separate position held (P39) statements for each mandate:

Although slightly more complicated to enter, this form allows for much richer data that is usually easier to query. It is particularly suitable in the common scenario where a source only provides a list of members serving during a given legislative term, and does not provide individual dates of service, allowing parliamentary term (P2937) information to be added first, and more precise start time (P580) and end time (P582) to be sourced separately later. It's generally seen as incompatible with the format of Level 1/2.

Approach 5Edit

A similar approach to number 4, utilised for the UK House of Commons and some other national legislatures, is to create discrete position items for each legislative term, each term-item being a subclass of a more general Member of Parliament (Q16707842) item. It assumes that the legislature defines the position on such a basis.

Additional QualifiersEdit

Other highly recommended qualifiers on position held (P39) statements include:


Membership ItemsEdit

Items for parliamentary "member of" (e.g. member of the Parliament of Finland (Q17592486)) should use properties:

country (P17)
subclass of (P279) : member of parliament (Q486839) (or similar)
part of (P361) : political body, eg House of Commons (Q11005)
instance of (P31) : position (Q4164871)
applies to jurisdiction (P1001) : country or subdivision
topic's main category (P910) : category for members (parent category if subdivided)

As illustrated in the Level 3a example, above, in some countries, the preference is to use term-specific membership items, such as Member of the 16th Lok Sabha (Q42509248), Member of the 15th Lok Sabha (Q42509330), etc. This makes data easier to manipulate with some common tooling (such as QuickStatements and Listeria (Q24045615) that otherwise struggle with someone having held the same position more than once). Where this approach is used the subclass of (P279) for each such item must also be set to the non-term-specific item for that legislature (e.g. member of the Lok Sabha (Q16556694)), and each position held (P39) statement must also include a parliamentary term (P2937) qualifier, so that standardised queries can be constructed without needing to know which type of item is in place.


The politicians themselves should usually have the following data:

instance of (P31) : human (Q5)
occupation (P106) : politician (Q82955)
Where known
<sex or gender (P21)>
<country of citizenship (P27)>
<date of birth (P569)>
<date of death (P570)> (if deceased!)
<given name (P735)>
<family name (P734)>
Where appropriate
Nationally-specific authority properties such as
<History of Parliament ID (P1614)> (UK)
<Dutch Senate person ID (P1959)> (Netherlands)
< ID (P1808)> (France)
(see a longer list at Wikidata:WikiProject Parliaments#For_members_of_parliament)

Legislative BranchEdit

Information on modelling the legislatures themselves, as well as the legislative terms, and constituencies, can be found at Wikidata:WikiProject_Parliaments


Information on modelling elections can be found at Wikidata:WikiProject elections.

Executive BranchEdit

Head of GovernmentEdit


A parent class for the Cabinet itself (e.g. Cabinet of Wales (Q32859630)), with:

subclass of (P279) : cabinet (Q640506)
applies to jurisdiction (P1001) : the country

Then, for each individual cabinet (e.g. Fourth Morgan ministry (Q27957662)):

instance of (P31) : the parent class (above)
applies to jurisdiction (P1001) : the country
inception (P571): date formed
dissolved, abolished or demolished date (P576): date abolished (omit if current)
has part (P527): list of members (see below)
replaces (P1365): preceding cabinet
replaced by (P1366): following cabinet
Cabinet membershipsEdit

Each member should have a position held (P39) for the position:

⟨ Rhodri Glyn Thomas (Q7321239)      ⟩ position held (P39)   ⟨ Minister for Heritage (Q25713775)      ⟩
start time (P580)   ⟨ 2007-07-19 ⟩
end time (P582)   ⟨ 2008-07-18 ⟩

Cabinet-Level PositionsEdit

e.g. Minister for Health and Social Services (Q6865862)

instance of (P31) : public office (Q294414)
subclass of (P279) : minister (Q83307) or one or more suitable subclasses, e.g. health minister (Q3273722)
applies to jurisdiction (P1001): the geographic scope, i.e. the country/state/province (e.g. Wales (Q25))
country (P17): the country (e.g. United Kingdom (Q145) — will be the same as applies to jurisdiction (P1001) for national-level positions)
part of (P361): the cabinet (e.g. Cabinet of Wales (Q32859630)
inception (P571): when office was created
replaces (P1365): previous office(s) with similar remit (e.g. Secretary for Health & Social Services (Q32947381))
dissolved, abolished or demolished date (P576): when office was abolished
replaced by (P1366): successor office(s) with similar remit (e.g. Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being & Sport (Q32947395))
organization directed by the office or position (P2389): ministry for which responsible (e.g. NHS Wales (Q6954180))
Non-Cabinet Ministerial positionsEdit

Junior positions can be modelled following the pattern for Cabinet positions; however the part of (P361) qualifier of the position statement should point to the government - e.g. Welsh Government (Q3112646) - rather than to the cabinet.