Electoral systems

  • Created by: Megg1615
  • Created on: 05-12-19 15:10

Electoral systems:

·         A referendum is a popular vote in which the electorate can express a view on a specific/single issue of public policy.

·         The process of a referendum is as follows:

o    Government adopts a policy that a referendum should be held on an issue

o    Precise wording is established

o    Legislation is passed in Parliament, setting up arrangements including the date

o    Referendum is held and results are announced

o    Vote is not legally binding on the government, but the government tend not to go against the will of the people

o    If the result requires a change, legal and political arrangements are made

·         Referendums since 1975:

o    1975: continued membership of EU

o    2011: Electoral reform for Westminster (change to AV)

o    2016: Brexit vote

·         The differences between elections and referendums are that referendums are direct democracy, they can be called at any time, the government doesn’t have to honour the result, and the choice is either yes or no. An election is representative democracy, many different types are called at regular intervals, all political parties must honour the result, and there is a choice between several political parties.

·         An election is the selection of a person or persons for office(s) of power by vote.

·         There are many types of electoral systems, including:

o    Majoritarian systems – A majority is 50%+1 to win

o    Plurality systems – Having the majority of votes, but not the overall majority necessarily

o    Proportional representation – Where seats are allocated in roughly a reflection of the percentage of votes gained by a party

o    Mixed systems/hybrid systems

·         The delegate model is where a delegate must act on the behalf of those who chose them on the basis of the instructions they have been given without expressing their own views.

·         The trustee model/Burkean model is where MPs are responsible for representing the interests of their constituents in parliament, but once elected, they are free to decide how to vote based on their own independent judgement of merits


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