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Doctor's mandate gives
authority and obligation to Give chosen government
two types of mandate (=
respond to unforeseen legal and moral authority to
Public pass verdict on circumstances as they arise
performance of last govern)
eg. 2010 bombing Libya
government by voting for or
against its candidates eg. 2005 when a revolution broke
public passed positive verdict by out
reelecting Labour, 2010 negative Manifesto mandate gives
by not reelecting Labour authority and obligation to
carry out manifesto
promises and Parliament
responsibility to ensure this
eg. 2009 public discontent
Public choose between competing Purpose of Labour refused to hold
referendum on Lisbon
government programmes. At pre-
election campaign party publishes
Elections Treaty even though
manifesto where sets out policies that promised to in 2005
promises to implement if wins election manifesto
and forms government, also publicised
in interviews and party broadcasts eg.
2010 pre-election campaign
Conservatives promised to cut public
spending by more than Labour in
Public indirectly choose
between Prime Ministers Public choose individual to
because leader of party with represent their constituency
majority of seats in House of in House of Commons
Commons becomes Prime
Minister…read more

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May 2010 General Election
First time since 1974 no party wins majority of seats in House of
Commons ­ need 326, Conservatives 307
Conservative vote increased 4% but seats increased 16% -
"winners' bonus" effect (FPTP helps larger parties)
Only small party to gain representation ­ Green Party, Caroline
Lucas for Brighton ­ first Green MP
Turnout increased 61%65% because result unclear prior to
election and lots of media coverage for live debates between
party leaders
First coalition since WWI
First ever live debates between party leaders in pre-election
1/3 MPs won over 50% vote in their constituencies
Conservatives 36% vote 47% seats
Labour 29% vote 39% seats
Lib Dems 23% vote 9% seats…read more

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Electoral Systems
= system that converts votes into seats in
Parliament or system for choosing a leader such as
President or mayor
Can change result of elections because possible for
candidate to win under one system but lose under
another ­ important for representative democracy
that electoral system reflects fairly how public vote…read more

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Majoritarian/Plurality Electoral Systems
To gain power not necessary to win over 50% of votes
but must win plurality (more than any other candidate)
FPTP ­ First Past the Post
(Simple Majorities in Single Member Constituencies)
Used in UK to elect MPs to House of Commons in general elections
Constituency system ­ vote for MP within own constituency which are
roughly same size ­ Electoral Commission ensures this
Elect single candidate to be representative of constituency who has
obligation to listen to all grievances of constituents and if necessary pass
on to relevant authorities
Vote by marking X on ballot paper…read more

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Disproportionality ­ no proportionate link between votes and seats because
system concerned with electing individuals not representing parties
Bias towards larger parties and parties with concentrated support because
no prizes for coming second or third and no prizes for high proportion of
votes overall if votes not geographically concentrates ­ less likely to waste
vote on small party that won't gain representation so decreased turnout eg.
nationalist parties in Scotland and Wales benefit from concentrated support
Politics dominated by two major parties because of bias towards larger
parties with concentrated support eg. 85% of MPs either Conservative or
Single-party, strong government as a result of two party system ­ majority
of seats easier to pass legislation because less chance of being defeated in
vote in House of Commons ­ strong government eg. no party gained over
50% of vote since 1953 but one of two largest parties always got
majority of seats except 2010 and 1974…read more

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Old Sir

A comprehensive survey of the issues surrounding the UK electoral process. Students preparing to discuss issues of democracy and participation will find this a useful introduction or reminder.


Really helpful for my revision! Thank you :D

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