Politics: Functions of Elections

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  • Created by: Simone
  • Created on: 03-01-14 14:23
Election
the choice of a candidate to fill a political office
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Referendum
a vote on a matter of public policy or a political issue
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What are the functions of elections?
to form the government and to issue representation and legitimacy
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Explain the formation of the government
The government is formed from leading members of the majority party in the House of Commons. This usually leaves a single, majority party
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Explain the importance of representation
channels a vital form of communication between the people and government
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Explain the Trustee Model
based on the idea that the representative should act as a trustee and not a delegate
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What do trustees do?
Trustees act on behalf of others, think for themselves and use their own judgement
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Problems with the Trustee Model?
interest gap & loyalty (MPs only exercise their own judgement in free votes and backbench revolts)
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Popular Mandate
authority to carry out a party's manifesto
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Manifesto
the policy programme a party intends to carry out once it wins power
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Explain the Mandate Doctrine
based on the idea that in winning an election, the party receives a popular mandate which authorizes it to carry out its manifesto
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What does this suggest about representation?
Representation is carried out by the party and not the individual
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Problems with the mandate doctrine?
a vote for a party is unlikely to indicate support for the entire manifesto, voting is habitual and influenced by social background, doesn't work for coalitions, who does the mandate fall too? cannot force gov't to implement - 'vote winning' policies
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Explain Descriptive Representation
idea that parliament should be a microcosm of society
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Problems with Descriptive Representation
too narrow - no common will, assumes interests are dependent on social characteristics, how far should representation go?
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Explain the importance of legitimacy
key in maintaining political stability
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Explain legitimacy
ensures citizens recognize that they have an obligation to obey the law. The act of voting provides 'consent' to being governed
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Problems with Legitimacy
low turnout undermines the legitimacy of election outcomes & falling support for governing parties undermines the government's legitimacy
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Referendum

Back

a vote on a matter of public policy or a political issue

Card 3

Front

What are the functions of elections?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Explain the formation of the government

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Explain the importance of representation

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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