In a contest that threatens to become a Gordian knot, the Greens are back at leadership ground zero in New Zealand.
James Shaw, the man dumped by members as leader last month, is the only nominee for the party’s vacant co-leadership role.
Mr Shaw will now face members again in a fresh ballot, needing to win 75 per cent support to take back the job – the same threshold he failed to meet at the party’s AGM last month.
The Greens are a co-operation partner of Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand, handed two ministries outside cabinet and policy agreement by Labour.
But they face a rocky month ahead, as Mr Shaw – the climate change minister – attempts to win over dissatisfied party delegates if they are to maintain credibility.
At the party’s AGM last month, co-leaders Marama Davidson and Mr Shaw were required to re-stand for their jobs, as they do each year.
While Ms Davidson was re-elected without fuss, Mr Shaw failed to meet the 75 per cent satisfaction threshold, polling 70 per cent support from the 107 voting delegates.
That threw his position open to all-comers.
One by one, MPs in the 10-strong caucus ruled themselves out of contention.
Under party rules, nominations can also come from the grassroots – so long as they have five other members in support.
When the deadline for nominations passed on Thursday night, none had been received.
“In line with the Green Party’s constitution and its long-standing commitment to member-led decision making, there will now be a single election with two options: to vote for the nominated candidate or to re-open nominations,” a party statement said.
In other words, Mr Shaw faces a run-off against nobody, and the party is back to square one.
Mr Shaw, 49, is disliked by a section of the party’s base, including the Green Left and Young Green factions.
He is seen by the party’s more activist wings as too moderate, and too close to Ms Ardern’s Labour party.
For that reason, the leadership ballot also doubles as a vote on the co-operation agreement with Labour.
A loss for Mr Shaw could see the Greens walk away from the governing arrangement, although Ms Ardern says she wants Mr Shaw to stay as climate change minister whether he is Greens co-leader or not.
The ballot will take place virtually, with all votes to be received by September 8.