Explained: UK Elections
The following are the characteristic features of the elections conducted in the UK:
Britain is a parliamentary democracy. The government should have the support of a majority of lawmakers in the elected lower chamber of parliament, the House of Commons. Thus, the national election is the election for the House of Commons.
Voters will elect a member of Parliament for their local constituency. Voting is not compulsory in UK. Voter turnout at national elections has seen a decline since the 1950s, when it used to be over 80%.
Britain follows the first-past-the-post electoral system. There is no system of proportional representation for candidates.
Under First Past the Post (FPTP) system, a candidate who gets one vote more than other candidate (who comes second) is declared as winner. In proportional representation, number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received
To form a majority government, a party theoretically must win in 326 out of the 650 regional constituencies. But in practice, a party needs to win only in 323 seats as the Irish republican Sinn Fein party does not take up any seats it wins in Northern Ireland.
The upper house is called as the House of Lords whose members are un-elected.
The monarch (Queen Elizabeth) enjoys the power to dismiss a Prime Minister or to make a personal choice of successor. However, the practice in UK is that the monarch does not exercise this right as its is considered as archaic. This is the practice since 1834. In addition, as a convention, the queen (monarch) does not get involved in party politics.