February 25, 2024

Elections in Great Britain: All about elections at a glance – Politics

This is easier said than done: neither Theresa May nor her successor Boris Johnson were able to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union. The House of Commons in London has repeatedly denied conservative prime ministers a majority in the agreement negotiated with the European Union.

In order to lift the self-blockade, parliamentarians agreed to hold new elections on December 12 at the request of Prime Minister Johnson. He hopes to obtain a majority in Parliament through which he can move forward with the Brexit agreement. Read the most important information about the UK elections here.

What do the polls say?

Johnson wants an absolute majority in Parliament, and it is possible that the Prime Minister will get that majority as well. It is clear that Johnson is leading in the opinion polls over the past seven days with the Conservative Party, which he leads, by about 43 percent. Its main rival, Labour, trails by a wide margin of about ten percentage points, although the party has benefited somewhat from the negative trend of its rival Liberal Democrats in opinion polls in recent weeks, which opinion polls suggest it may get about 13 in. hundred of votes. Small parties such as the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, the Scottish National Party or the Welsh Plaid Cymru do not have much national support, but can win a few seats in their areas.

With these numbers from the opinion polls, the Conservatives have a good chance of achieving an absolute majority of seats in the House of Commons. But this is not certain because of voting rights in Great Britain. More on that later. Surveys are also always subject to uncertainty.

Who are the most important parties in the election campaign?

What is the content about?

“Get Brexit done.” This is the slogan used by Johnson's Conservatives during the election campaign; Of course, Brexit is the most important issue – but it is not the only issue. The Labor Party in particular is always trying to score points with different content. For party leader Corbyn, combating social inequality is a key focus. One of the most important points besides Brexit is healthcare. Labor accuses the Conservatives of destroying the National Health Service, and therefore wants to invest heavily.

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Labor also wants to invest a lot of money in other areas, such as high-speed internet access in all homes. Under Prime Minister Corbyn, power and water supplies will also be nationalised, as will parts of the post office and railways. For this purpose, among others, the top tax rate should be increased. The Conservatives also want to spend money and bid farewell to their austerity policies. They promise to fund innovative environmental policies and improve the NHS, and want to invest £1 billion in childcare.

About two weeks before the vote, another topic suddenly emerged in the election campaign. After the knife attack in central London by killer Usman Khan, who was released early from prison, the parties accused each other of making the crime possible through too lenient criminal law or too strict austerity policies among the security authorities.

Who has been in Parliament so far?

Theresa May took an absolute majority and took a risk: in the last general election in the summer of 2017, she wanted to widen the Conservative Party's narrow lead over the opposition – and lost. Despite good opinion polls, the Conservatives were unable to expand or defend their absolute majority. They therefore formed an alliance with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party. The map below shows the results for each electoral district – simplified so that geographical differences do not distort the presentation. You can also view the results of the London Minor Circles.

However, the coalition's majority was also lost due to by-elections, party exclusion and the transfer of representatives to other factions. After initially numbering 318 Conservative MPs, only 298 MPs remained in the group when Parliament was dissolved on 6 November. The Labor Party, the largest opposition party, also lost a few seats. During the legislative period, the parliamentary bloc shrank from 262 to 243 seats. The main reason for this was the party's particularly unclear position on Brexit and party leader Corbyn's handling of anti-Semitic statements.

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The Liberal Democrats in particular have been able to benefit from the departures, increasing their parliamentary group from 12 to 20 MPs since the summer of 2017. 24 MPs were without party membership when Parliament was dissolved. In addition, the UK Change Group was formed from former members of the Labor and Conservative parties, which eventually included five MPs.

What is British suffrage?

There is a big difference between British and German electoral law. Seat shares in the Bundestag are divided in proportion to each party's share of the party vote, i.e. according to proportional representation. Things are different in the UK. Voting there depends on majority voting. In each of the 650 electoral districts, the candidate with the most votes wins a seat in the House of Representatives. There are no party lists or proportional distribution of seats.

This system hurts small parties and has so far primarily benefited the Labor and Conservative parties. It may also happen that there is a clear left-liberal majority in the electoral district, but its voters are distributed among several parties. This could result in the Conservatives continuing to be the stronger force and winning the seat.

To avoid such situations, the Lib Dems, Greens and Welsh Plaid have joined forces. All pro-European parties support remaining in the European Union, and have formed a coalition called “Unite to Remain” – Unite to Survive. In 60 of the 650 constituencies, they want to avoid running against each other and instead support a common candidate. Labor was also offered to join the Unite to Survive party, but the party reportedly declined guardian. Therefore, Britain's exit from the European Union will have a significant impact on the outcome of the elections. At least in the heartland of Brexit and Brexit in the 2016 referendum, we can expect dramatic results.

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In general, observers consider that the election results this year will be particularly open. About 13 percent of voters were still undecided in the week before the vote. According to data from the British Election Study, the number of voters who clearly belong to a party has fallen sharply; The percentage of swing voters is increasing. Tactical voting behavior is also likely to play a major role. This is particularly interesting for Remainers, i.e. citizens who want Great Britain to somehow remain in the European Union. From an electoral perspective, they should vote for the party that has the best chance of defeating the Conservatives in their constituency. Many websites offer advice on which party is appropriate: in most areas it is Labour, but in some places it is the Liberal Democrats or Scottish National Party. However, the recommendations are based on relatively uncertain expectations for the reasons mentioned.