OK, I’m not that familiar with British politics, but I didn’t expect it to be too complicated.
By now, I understand that an election must take place this year, by June, to be exact. Mr. Gordon Brown will have to announce the date, and pessimists claim he will declare some national emergency to prevent it happening.
I also understand Gordon Brown is Prime Minister because Labour is in power and he is their leader. I know that voters go to the poll and vote for their MP. The candidate that gets the most votes wins the seat for that particular constituency.
But, there have been talk about the possibility that none of the parties will be able to establish a government if they don’t win a majority seat. I never thought about that. I just thought, whoever wins, wins.
The UK system is not like the US system where you vote for the President/Vice-President, then your local representatives separately. Here, the winning candidate becomes MP and takes a seat in the Commons. The party with the majority (51%) of seats in the Commons gets to form a government. That party’s leader becomes Prime Minister.
Since the polls seem to suggest that the two main parties (Labour and Conservatives) will get the most seats but neither will reach the majority, due to some seats going to other parties (Liberal Democrats, Greens, etc.), there will not be a majority government. This, of course, will have many implications. One being that the one with the most may seek to form a government coalition with other parties. But, you can see with all the political wrangling that that might prove to be difficult.
The other thing I wonder about is what happens if the current party leaders lose their seats? Has that ever happened before? Party leaders going into an election and coming out losing their own seats?