• Created by: balqisa
  • Created on: 05-06-17 14:58

Exam series

A (5 mark)

B (10 mark)

C (25 mark)

June 2016

Outline two differences between elections and referendums.

- referendums are not legally binding elections are a formal decision making process

- time is not bound to a fixed term parliament act referendums are based on popular motive


 Explain three ways in which elections promote democracy

-Elections also promote democracy by enabling competing parties to put forward their manifesto ideas. This not only allows pluralist groups a chance to voice their opinions, but also acts as a way of educating the voters electorate is most informed at these times.

-Elections promote democracy principally by providing representation. The electorate can choose parliamentary representatives, from whom the majority party may form a government, and dismiss those representatives if they fail to represent the people according to their wishes. The electorate can remove from these representatives their mandate to govern.

- sovereignty lies with the people during general elections confirming legitimacy of democracy

Assess the merits of the different electoral systems operating in the UK

STV, used in Northern Ireland, helps reflect the fragmented political and religious views; AMS gives minor party representation, effectively diminishing two party politics; FPTP produces the strongest possible governments and regional list gives representation to the most minor and obscure parties..
-STV used in Northern Ireland effectively gives the representation of four parties that contrast both Unionist and nationalistic views. e.g. The UUP and the ULP are the Unionists in Northern Ireland whilst the SDLP and Sinn Fein represent the nationalists. The system of preferential voting gives voters more of a choice in their ballot, effectively giving them as many choices as they wish. However, STV requires candidates to meet a quota, which does become difficult for some smaller parties. Nevertheless, through one candidate achieving a quota, their subsequent votes are redistributed to the other candidates making the system more democratic and attaining the least amount of wasted votes.
- The system of AMS (used in Scotland and Wales) effectively gives an advantage to both minor and major parties, through the variable top up system. The regional list element which contributes to 1/3
of the system effectively increases the vote and supports those who do not perform as well as they can in constituency. Notably, in the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections, the SNP achieved an extra 22 seats through the variable top up which put them as the first party, effectively defeating Labour. The SNP won a majority with 53.5% of the seats. This suggests there is an effective use of conversion of seats due to the fusion of the two electoral systems. Similarly, the Green Party won two seats in the Scottish election through regional list; having won none under FPTP. The variable top up gave representation to one of the smallest parties that would not succeed under FPTP alone. However, the system of AMS has the disadvantage of the amount of votes not requiring a majority to get into government. Arguably,


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