General Election in GB

The British government is elected for up to five years, unless it is defeated in Parliament on a major issue. The Prime Minister chooses the date of the next General Election.

About a month before the election the Prime Minister meets a small group of close advisers to discuss the date which would best suit the party. The date is announced to the Cabinet. The Prime Minister formally asks the Sovereign to dissolve Parliament. Once Parliament is dissolved, all MPs are unemployed, but government officers continue to function.

Party Manifestos are published and campaigning begins throughout the country lasting for about three weeks with large-scale press, radio and television coverage.

Each party conducts its election campaign with meetings, speeches, television commercials, and party members going from door to door encouraging people to support their party.

The country is divided into constituencies, whose candidates represent the wishes of people. Voting takes place on Polling Day (usually a Thursday) by a secret written ballot. The place where people go to vote in an election is called polling station. The voters put their  votes in a ballotbox and later they are counted. The candidate with the most votes is then declared athe winner

People, who have the right to vote must be 18 years old, law abiding citezens, who have not committed an crimes. Clergymen do not take part in voting.The results from each constituency are announced as soon as the votes have been counted, usually the same night. The national result is known by the next morning.

As soon as it is clear that one party has a majority of seats in the House of Commons, its leader is formally invited by the Sovereign to form a government. He becomes the Prime Minister. He chooses about 20 MPs from his or her party to become the Cabinet of Ministers. Each minister is responsible for a particular area of the government. The second largest party becomes the official opposition with its own leader'and 'Shadow Cabinet'. Leader of the opposition is a recognised post in the House of Commons.

The House of Commons includes 659 MPs. If someone dies or becomes disabled, a by-elecnon is held.

Now they have a Labour government in Britain with Tony Blair as Prime Minister. The former Conservative government was in power for 18 years.