On Thursday 7th May the General Elections take place in the UK. It is traditionally held on the first Thursday in May once every five years in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The 650 members of parliament (MPs) will be elected through 650 individual elections for a constituency. Each voter chooses a candidate in their area. The candidate with the most votes wins a seat in the House of Commons in the UK parliament, Westminster, London.
The main parties taking part in the election are the Conservatives (led by David Cameron), Labour (led by Ed Miliband), Liberal Democrats (led by Nick Clegg) and the United Kingdom Independance Party (led by Nigel Farage). The current Prime Minister is David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party. In the last General Election a coalition government was formed (also known as a hung parliament) with the Liberal Democrats because the Conservatives didn’t have an outright majority.
If one party wins more than half the seats (326) in the House of Commons, its leader becomes Prime Minister and forms a government. The Prime Minister’s official residence is at 10 Downing Street, London.
According to the Independant newspaper « Britain is heading for the most unpredictable general election in a generation as voters turn their backs on the established parties ». Support for the three main political parties is at an all-time low. So much so that it is possible that no single party will win a majority of seats in Parliament. The two main candidates are David Cameron – leader of the Conservatives and who has around a score of around 32% in the polls and Ed Miliband – leader of the Labour party who has around a 33% lead in the polls. However there is growing support for smaller parties like the UKIP and the Greens. The UKIP wants to cut immigration to the UK and quit the European Union – according to some polls they could win 15% of the vote. The Green party could possibly win 15% of the vote.
To learn more about the General Election here are some videos:
How does the General Election work?
The General Election explained (Election 2010)
How does Parliament work?
What happens if no-one wins?