How Does it Work?
General Election 2015 – the facts:
- The UK General Election will be held on the 7th May 2015.
- 650 Members of the House of Commons each representing a constituency of approximately 70,000 people will be elected on Election Day, though some votes will be cast by a postal ballot before that. All citizens aged 18 or above and registered on the electoral roll can vote.
- Several weeks beforehand political parties publish manifestos outlining the policies they plan to implement if they are able to form a government. These are scrutinised by the media, think tanks, charities and individual voters during the election campaign.
- The ‘first past the post’ system is used, which means electors put an ‘X’ by the name of one candidate and whoever attains the highest number of votes is the winner. Most candidates are members of a political party.
- To form a government with an overall majority, a party needs 326 individual MPs. An overall majority means being able to win votes and pass legislation through the House of Commons without depending on the support of any other party.
- In 2010 there was no overall majority, so the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats formed a Coalition. If there were to be no overall majority at the 2015 General Election, the largest party could either form a coalition with another party or attempt to govern as a minority government that would depend on the support of others on a vote-by-vote basis.