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Democracy and Elections in the UK

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Introduction

´╗┐Lee Gouldsbrough Unit 1: government policies and the public service Democracy Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives this is because we are a society based on equality of opportunity and individual merit. It?s a system of welfare and retribution aimed at narrowing social inequalities and it is a system of decision making based upon a majority rule. Here is a list of the levels of politics starting from the lowest first: 1. Local (councillors) 2. Regional 3. National 4. European 5. International 6. Multinational 7. Global Several variants of democracy exist, but there are two basic forms, both of which concern how the whole body of all eligible citizens executes its will. One form of democracy is direct democracy. This is where people vote on a policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representative who then vote on policy initiatives, e.g.: ancient Rome, modern Switzerland and USA at federal level. Another type of democracy is representative democracy this is a variety of democracy found on the principle of elected people representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. ...read more.

Middle

To be able to register as a candidate you will have to pay £500 deposit, however if you receive over 5% of the votes you will get this money back. There are no candidate election procedures if you are going to stand as an independent representative but as long as you are eligible you can stand for office. However other political parties often have more potential candidates than what they need to fill the seats up they are hoping to win. To ensure that the best candidate or the candidate most likely to win the seat a selection procedure is necessary. For this there are many selection methods, for example: 1. The local branch of the party can interview the potential candidates to find the one they want to serve their area. A party may draw up a shortlist containing only women or only candidates from ethnic minorities so as to increase the diversity of MPs’ in the party, but this can be controversial tactic and not everyone agrees with it. 2. Also the party can draw up a list of centrally approved candidates from which local branch can choose. The list is drawn up in a vigorous way and in many ways mirrors the public services selection procedures. ...read more.

Conclusion

First-past-the-post is used to elect MPs to the House of Commons and for local elections in England and Wales. The advantages of the FPTP system is that the ballot papers are easy to understand, it provides a close and direct link between the MP and the constituency, it is a cheap and simple way to hold an election, the counting of the ballot papers is fast and accurate, it gives a clear mandate to the party in power, it provides a stable and legitimate political system with usually just two parties dominating so this means a part can pass legislation and tackle the countries problems without having to rely on other parties for support and finally it allows a new or incumbent government to either take over the reins or continue as usual, swiftly and with the minimum of upheaval. However the disadvantages of FPTP is that more people in the constituency can vote against a candidate than vote for them and the individual is still elected, there is a lack of choice of representatives, the government can change constituency boundaries to affect the results of elections and this is called gerrymandering, individuals may cast negative votes for example voting against a candidate they dislike rather than voting for one they like and finally voters in strong party constituencies may feel their vote is wanted. ...read more.

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