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Political Parties and Elections in the UK, the USA and Lithuania

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Political Parties and Elections in the UK, the USA and Lithuania

The UK

Each of the 659 MPs in the House of Commons represents a particular part

of the UK called a constituency. Anyone who wants to become an MP must be

elected by the people of a constituency. Before an election one person is

chosen by each of the main political parties to stand for election in each

constituency. Only the candidate who gets the most votes is elected. The

system is called first past the post.

In a general election, when elections are hheld in all constituencies, the

winning party, is the one that wins most seats in Parliament.

By law, a general election must take place every five years. General

elections are always held on Thursdays. Anyone who wants to stand for

Parliament has to leave a deposit of £500 with the Returning Officer. This

is intended to stop people who do not seriously want to be MPs from taking

part in the election.

Before an election takes place candidates campaign for support in the

constituency. The amount oof money to spend is strictly limited. They cannot

buy television time.

If an MP dies or resigns, a by-election is held in the constituency which

he or she represented.

Anyone over the age of 18 has the right to vote at eelections. Voting is

not compulsory but the turnout (= the number of people voting) at general

elections is usually high.

About a week in advance of an election everyone on the electoral register

receives a polling card and the whole elections process begins.

The counting takes place in the same evening after elections, continuing

for as long as necessary through the night. If the number of votes for two

candidates is very close, the candidates may demand a recount.

The British political system relies on having at least two parties in the

House of Commons able to form a government. There are mainly three parties:

the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democratic Party,

the most important one.

The Conservative Party is on the political right aand the Labour Party on

the left. The Liberal Democrats are generally closer to Labour in their


The support for each party is slightly different. The Conservative Party

usually gets support from the rich people, while the Labour Party drew its

support from the working classes and from people wanting social reforms.

The main parties hold regular meetings at which party policy is



The USA has two main political parties, the Democratic Party and the

Republican Party.

Party organizations are less important iin the USA than in countries like

Britain ...

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