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 held in all constituencies, thhe
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 of money to spend is strictly limited. Thhey 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 elections. Voting is
not compulsory but the turnout (= the number of pe

eople 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 and the Labour Party on
the left. The Liberal Democrats are generally closer to Labour in their
opinions.

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
discussed.

The USA

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

Party organizations are less important in the USA than in countries like
Britain or Lithuania which have a parliament.

The national organization for each of the main p

parties is called the
National Committee, and its head is the National Chairman. This person is
appointed by the party’s candidate for President.

An important job of the national party is to organize the party
convention (=meeting), which is held every four years in the summer before
the elections for President.

The national parties raise money for election campaigns and provide other
kinds of help to their candidates.

The Republicans are to the right and the Democrats to the left of centre.
Typically, the Democrats support government.

Elections are held regularly for President of the US, for both houses of
Congress and for state and local government offices.

During an election campaign candidates try to achieve name recognition by
advertising on television and in other mass media spheres.

Election campaign is very expensive, and the candidate with most money
has a big advantage.

Presidential elections are held every four years, Early in election year,
the political parties choose their candidates through a series of primary
elections held in every state.

In November the people go to vote.

US elections are held on the Tuesday following the first Monday of
November.

Americans over the age of 18 have the right to vote, but only about half
of them take part in presidential elections, even fewer in other elections.

Lithuania

Actually, both the political parties and election system in

n Lithuania is
very much similar to the UK or the USA.

Speaking about Lithuanian political parties, it must be said that there
are far more of them than in the mentioned countries. Usually, there are 12
parties, but only a leading one, the one that got the most votes in
elections can be a leading party.

There are three types of parties according to the centre in Lithuania.
They are left, right and centre parties.

A party must receive at least 5% of the national vote to be represented
in the Seimas

Election system slightly differs in Lithuania than in other country. The
president is elected directly for 5 years. The parliament (Seimas) has 141
members that are elected for a 4-year term. About half of the members are
elected in single constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected
in the nationwide vote by party lists.

The voting system as such is very similar to the UK and the USA, because
all the people over 18 can vote and the process is also not very different.

In conclusion, there is much to say about different political parties or
elctions systems in all the three countries.

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