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Compare and contrast the purpose of elections in the political systems of Britain and America.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the purpose of elections in the political systems of Britain and America. Elections are a means by which people exercise some degree of control over their representatives. Ideally elections should provide the opportunity for a peaceful succession and transfer of office. In fact, in recent history, elections of one form or another have been the most characteristic and widespread form of rotating and transferring office. There has been tremendous variation amongst political systems of what is considered to be an elective office and the form that it should take. Before we can begin to explore the differences or similarities in the purpose of elections in Britain and the US we must first concentrate on what the electorate in each country votes for. In the US the have a federal system of government where the president is chosen by the electorate to represent them and their interest in the executive, the president and the vice-president are the only two politicians to be elected by a national constituency. They campaign for two months, starting after the Labor Day holiday in September but these campaigns rarely make a difference to which candidate wins because most of the electorate have already made up their minds and it is rare that a candidate who is ...read more.

Middle

to have a layer of government which deals with the needs of that region instead of Westminster managing all of that regions affairs and policies. There are a number of key dates in the creation of the Scottish Parliament. Regarding the creations of a Scottish parliament a Referendum on 11 September 1997 showed Westminster that the Scottish electorate were largely in favour of the creation of a Scottish Parliament with tax varying powers.. The result of this was the Scotland Act 1998, which received Royal Assent on 19 November 1998. The Act provided "for the establishment of a Scottish Parliament", and gave the Secretary of State for Scotland the power to decide the date of the first election. This shows that another purpose for elections is the right to choose what is best for ones region as a whole not just voting selfishly for what one can get out of a party if it is elected to power. In order for there to be a purpose for an election it is paramount that a political party or a campaigner attempts to makes sure that as many of the electorate as possible turn out to the ballot stations to vote; especially the electorate that are most likely to support them. ...read more.

Conclusion

According to official literature published by parliament "Fair and free elections are an essential part of democracy, allowing citizens to determine how they want their country to be governed."2 But in reality is this what happens? Is not the purpose of voting to the electorate a means by which they can receive benefits on a more personal level, such as lower tax, cheaper goods or a higher standard of living. Unless however the individual voter is attached to a political party or has strong political views, for example the voter may be deeply concerned about vehicle emissions in urban areas and hence would be more likely to vote for a party, president or congressman who designed a manifesto policy before the elections to try and tackle that problem. But in conclusion the purpose for elections especially in Britain and America is not designed to pursue the individuals needs or desires but the status quo, how the electorate collectively wish their country to be run but in turn not forgetting how the electorate with their country to be run on a local level. In the political systems of Britain and America, they both cater for this. 1 Polsby and Wildavsky, 1995, p.162 2 http://www.explore.parliament.uk/teachers/pdfs/es01.pdf (Parliament Explained 1 - Parliamentary Elections) Paul Charles Gaffney ...read more.

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