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Voting for a political party which does not have a candidate running in your local area


WielkiPolak
17 Apr 2015  #1

I should know this but am not completely sure. It's one of those things you thought you knew until suddenly you realized, you're not sure.

In general elections, such as those happening in the UK soon, if a political party does not have a candidate running in your local area, does that mean you basically can't vote for that party?

Roger5
18 Apr 2015  #2

Yes. The ballot paper has a list of names for you to choose from. If your preferred party is so small and hopeless that it isn't fielding a.candidate, they are out of the race. It which case the only useful choice you have as a British Citizen is to vote tactically for the candidate you hate least,

WielkiPolak
18 Apr 2015  #3

Ah okay. I was just wondering. Actually my current situation is that the person who is running for the party I want to vote for, is a complete idiot, so I don't want to vote for him but it seems if I want to vote for the party, I have no choice but to vote for him.

I take it even if he did not win MP, my vote for him counts to the party percentage? Not that it effects the seats in parliament much but, it counts toward it right?

jon357
18 Apr 2015  #4

I take it even if he did not win MP, my vote for him counts to the party percentage?

Yes and no. The party percentage has no effect in a general election (and would only be officially discussed if there were a hung parliament and the Privy Council had to advise the Queen on who to appoint as her Prime Minister - this has happened before or if the result was so distorted it couldn't be ignored). The Conservative party during the Thatcher years, for example, tended to get a lower percentage than Labour but the Tories won in enough constituencies for her to be Prime Minister.

This is one reason why the first-past-the-post system sometimes produces distorted results. Only the votes for the winning MP in each constituency are relevant. A lot depends on the facts that in some constituencies there are a lot more candidates than in others and that some MPs have a huge majority but others don't. No system is perfect however the 2 main parties really like this system since it works in their favour.

WielkiPolak
19 Apr 2015  #5

Ah okay. Yeah I did assume that the seats in parliament were more important than percentages, but it look like the percentage is completely meaningless when it comes to power in parliament. I suppose it just give you an idea of how much of the country is voting for certain parties.

One other question. Is it okay for a person to gain a seat in parliament and then defect to another party? I know people left PiS and then formed their own party, so I assume it is. Would it be acceptable for say, an elected MP of one party to leave them and join a party who has no seats in parliament, thus giving them a seat, as they are now a member of that party?

jon357
20 Apr 2015  #6

Yes, that's happened a few times in the UK, mostly people defecting from mainstream parties to smaller ones (there used to be a few smaller parties that disappeared in the 50s and 60s). Back in the 80s some senior Labour people and a Liberal defected to the SDP and thee are also cases more recently where someone has been booted out of a party for naughtiness or left after an argument and sit as an independent.

This happens more often in Poland where the political landscape is different and the political parties are (with the exception of PSL) less established.

WielkiPolak
20 Apr 2015  #7

Yes I was researching the UK scene and it seems two Conservative MPs left late last year to join UKIP, but they both resigned their seats and stood again in by-elections, then got voted in again to be MPs for UKIP. I assume they didn't have to do this? Was it a gesture of good will by them?

jon357
20 Apr 2015  #8

Yes, that and the outrage of some local voters plus their old party that they were represented by someone from a party they hadn't voted for. Also a case of ukip being on a roll at the time and wanting to do it when the time was right rather than risking losing at the general election when their old party would be more actively campaigning and ukip maybe less popular than it was at the time.

They could have continued, but chose not to.

WielkiPolak
20 Apr 2015  #9

Okay got it. They knew they only had a few months left so they thought they may as well act honorably and hope to be voted in again, rather than stay in government for a few months and then risk the anger of the people, then not get voted in again because of this.

jon357
20 Apr 2015  #10

Possibly, though just as likely to be from self-interest since the kippers were having a (hopefully temporary) honeymoon period. This allowed them to maintain continuity rather than allow their rivals to have a few months of solid campaigning.

teargas
26 Apr 2015  #11

The party percentage has no effect in a general election (and would only be officially discussed if there were a hung parliament and the Privy Council had to advise the Queen on who to appoint as her Prime Minister - this has happened before or if the result was so distorted it couldn't be ignored).

As I recall, the convention is that the parties should agree a candidate for Prime Minister before he/she goes to the Queen to be appointed. It's one of the major weaknesses of the UK constitution that the process isn't actually written down anywhere. I seem to remember that in theory, anyone can go to the Queen, and the Queen is also free to appoint whoever she pleases. It's part of the legal mythology that surrounds the powers of the monarch, I believe.

I think in practice, in the event of a hung parliament, the Queen would appoint the leader of the largest party Prime Minister. He/she would then face a vote of confidence in the House of Commons, and if they lost it, a new election would be called. On the other hand, if a viable coalition among losing parties could be agreed, then the Queen would appoint their candidate as PM instead. I suspect that if there was no viable coalition and no chance of the largest party winning a vote of confidence, then the Queen would appoint the leader of the largest party the PM just so he/she could lose the vote of confidence. Probably in practice, the parties would agree among themselves to let the leader of the largest party try and run a minority government, particularly since the success of the SNP minority government in Scotland in 2007-2011.

As far as I know, in electoral theory, it's never a good idea to be seen to bring down a parliament unless you're certain that the voters are on your side. That's unlikely straight after a general election, so political parties will normally come to some agreement to make sure that some government can be formed, even if it's a minority government.

jon357
26 Apr 2015  #12

As I recall, the convention is that the parties should agree a candidate for Prime Minister before he/she goes to the Queen

Sort of, though She disagreed with their choice once and on the other occasion chose a party/premier that people didn't expect Her to.


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Off-Topic / Voting for a political party which does not have a candidate running in your local areatop