213-pol-edexcel-asexambuster2011 - Edexcel AS Politics...

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Edexcel AS Politics ExamBuster Tutor2u Limited www.tutor2u.net Page 36 Elections Introductory concepts the typical subject of part (a) questions Defining elections An election is primarily a way of choosing representatives, applying to the UK and European Parliament, local government, devolved assemblies and some individuals such as the London Mayor. Some elections, notably general elections, also choose a government in democratic states. Elections use different systems for converting raw votes into elected seats. It involves all or most of the citizens in showing preferences between candidates. The functions of elections The main function is to elect representatives, as shown above. General elections determine who shall represent the constituency in Parliament. It may also elect a government and a Prime Minister. An election grants a popular mandate to representatives or to a government. Similarly they provide popular consent for the winning party to govern. Elections are an opportunity for citizens to deliver a verdict on the performance of the outgoing government. It also gives them a choice between different political philosophies and programmes. They have an educative function in that they inform the public about political issues. They are an opportunity for citizens to participate in politics and so can strengthen democracy. Distinguishing elections from referendums Elections are normally held at specific or at least semi formal intervals. Referendums can be held at any time where they are felt to be desirable. An election is to elect representatives and leaders whereas a referendum involves a single question over a specific issue. Elections deal with a wide range of issues. The result of elections is binding while, in the UK, referendums are advisory rather than binding on Parliament. While the result of an election may be complex, the result of a referendum must be a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
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Edexcel AS Politics ExamBuster Tutor2u Limited www.tutor2u.net Page 37 Basic description of first past the post (fptp) Also known as simple plurality. In constituencies voters choose between different candidates and can only vote for one of those candidates. Voters cannot show any preference between candidates from the same party but must accept the chosen candidate from each party. The candidate who receives the most votes (known as a plurality) is elected. It is not necessary for a candidate to achieve an absolute majority (50% plus) to be elected. For instance 434 of the 650 MPs were returned in 2010 with less than half of the constituency vote. In general elections the party that receives an absolute majority or, failing that, more seats than any other party, is expected to form a government. Basic operation of the regional list system (List)
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course BUS 104 taught by Professor Johnson during the Spring '11 term at FIU.

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213-pol-edexcel-asexambuster2011 - Edexcel AS Politics...

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