Elections and Voting June 2011

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  • Elections and Voting June 2011
    • a) Distinguish between a mandate and a manifesto
      • Mandate
        • Is an instruction or command that gives authority to a person or body to act in a particular way. A popular or electoral mandate gives a party that has won an election, in the sense of winning majority control of the legislature, the authority to carry out its promises although there may be differences between a policy mandates and the broader idea of a mandate to govern
      • Manifesto
        • Is a document published by a political party in the run up to an election. It outlines in more or less detail, the poliies the party would implement if elected to power
    • b) Explain the workings of three electoral systems in the UK
      • First past the post which is used for Westminster elections. Its a simple plurality system where the winner requires only a plurality of votes in a single member constituency, each voter having only one vote
      • European parliament in the UK uses the closed party list. Here the UK is split into regions and parties place names on a list and are allocated seats in terms of the % of the vote they receive
      • The system of single transferable vote is used for the Northern Ireland Assembly and for elections to local government in Scotland. It is a system of preferntial voting where voters rank their preferences in order of choice which the vote eventually registering with a successful candidates. This stem employs multi-member constituencies and relies on the usa of a quota
    • c) Should the Westminster electoral system be reformed?
      • Yes
        • Poor votes to seats ratio, small parties such as the Liberal Democrats get an unfair return form the number of votes they receive
        • Fewer than one third of MPs get 50% of the vote in their constituencies
        • Governments unfairly claim legitimacy when in fact they often only have got about one third of the vote
        • Under this sytem few seats actually change hands and the election is won and lost in the 20% of the seats contested
          • The current system gives poor social representation under other electoral systems this improves
      • No
        • It keeps out extremist parties who may get a foothold and credibility if other systems were used
          • The recent result of the national referendumm proves that there is little public support for the current system to be changed
            • It delivers strong and stable governments
            • It allows mandate democracy to operate- voters get what they vote for
          • The current system provides a constituency with an MP and this is an important link in representative democracy which may be lost if PR systems were to be used


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