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UK General Election 2017 Map

Polling booths will be open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, June 8 after which results will be counted throughout the night, with the winner expected to be declared in the early hours of Friday, June 9.

Parliamentary Constituencies in United Kingdom
House of Commons
The General Election is held every five years in Britain after the Parliament gets dissolved and every seat in the House of Commons is vacant. Each constituency in the country elects one Member of Parliament (MP) to the House of Commons. The political party or coalition that wins a majority (326) of the seats in the 650-member House forms the government. Currently, of the 650 seats, 533 are in England, 59 in Scotland, 40 in Wales, and 18 in Northern Ireland.

When are elections held ?
As per the provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of May 7, 2015, UK general elections are held every five years. The next election is due on June 8, 2017 as per the Theresa May has called a snap general election for June 8, claiming that divisions at Westminster risked hampering the Brexit negotiations. General elections would be held on the first Thursday of May at an interval of five years, the Act stipulates. However, there are two provisions in the Act, which make it possible for polls to be held without completing the five-year term: if a motion of no confidence is passed and the Prime Minister loses the support of the House of Commons, and secondly if two-thirds of the total members of the House votes for early election.

How is a new government formed ?
Each person in a constituency casts one vote. A candidate can contest elections as a member of a registered political party or as an Independent. The candidate with the most votes is elected as the MP for that constituency. This is also known as the first-past-the-post system. If one party gets an overall majority, which means, it has more MPs than all other parties put together, it will form the government. A ‘hung parliament’ occurs when no party gets an overall majority. In that case, two or more parties may come together to form a coalition government.

Eligibility of voters
A person must be registered to vote and be at least 18 years or above on polling day. The individual must be a British citizen, or a citizen of Republic of Ireland or a qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen living in Britain. While individuals can start registering themselves at the age of 16, they cannot vote until they attain the age of 18.

Though most people vote in polling stations, eligible voters can also exercise their franchise through a postal ballot. The UK citizens staying abroad are allowed to register as an overseas voter provided they have been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years.

Who can stand as a candidate in UK General Election ?
A candidate must be 18 years of age or above and be British, or a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of Republic of Ireland. Those barred from being candidates include civil servants, military personnel, police officers, judges, bankrupts, and state-nominated directors of commercial firms.

The UKIP Factor
One may call it a joker in the pack, but the success of UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the 2014 October by-election in Clacton, has added that extra ounce of uncertainty to the 2015 General Election. While nobody expects UKIP, the anti-immigration party, to score a major upset in 2015, the main political players are scrambling to recalibrate their strategies in response to UKIP’s aggressive political positioning.

Nigel Farage's party is driving more searchers to websites than any other political party in the run-up to the election. In fact, the party is reportedly eyeing 22 seats after sensing 'spectacular' support from voters. Speculations are rife that three seats held by the Conservatives – Thurrock, Thanet South, and Boston and Skegness – can witness a major electoral upset as prospects of UKIP winning them continue to grow stronger.

Which way will the voters swing ?
Having won 307 seats in the 2010 General Election, the Conservative Party emerged as the single biggest party, but fell short of a majority. What will it take for the Tories to win around 20 additional seats required to form a government on their own?

Nearly 200 seats in the UK need a swing of just 5% for the sitting party to lose. According to David Cowling, the editor of the BBC’s Political Research Unit, the Tories need a uniform swing of 2% to win those extra 20 seats and get a majority on their own. On the other hand, Labour Party would require a uniform swing of 5% to propel it to an outright majority.

Britain’s leading pollsters are almost unanimous in their analysis that Labour party is slightly ahead of the rest in this race with Ed Miliband best positioned to become the Prime Minister.

Could it be a five-way race ?
Given the UKIP’s recent electoral surge, it is now the fourth player in the political scene after the three major parties – Tories, Labour, and Liberal Democrats. But some analysts believe that a fifth force – the Green Party – should not be underestimated. In fact, the latest BBC report suggests that both the Green Party (573 candidates) and the UKIP (624 candidates) are contesting in more seats than ever before. The Greens, as earlier reports had stated, are targeting the seats held by Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. The latter could end up being the biggest casualty of the upcoming election. The Greens left them behind in the European elections in May – perhaps a sign of things to come.

Summing it up
The 2015 UK election will be contested on issues such as the NHS, economy, UK’s relationship with Europe, and immigration. A YouGov poll, published on April 22, 2015, showed Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives going neck-on-neck with the opposition Labour Party. While 34 percent of voters supported the Labour Party, the Conservatives had 33 percent support in their favor. The anti-EU UKIP received support of 14 percent of voters.

In 2010 General Election, over 45 million British voters cast their ballot to choose the new government. While the Conservative Party emerged as the single largest party with 307 seats, the Labour Party came second with 258 seats. The Liberal Democrats stood a distant third with 57 seats. Eventually, the Tories and Liberal Democrats joined hands to form a coalition government led by the Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who became the Prime Minister. Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats became the Deputy Prime Minister.

Last Updated : June 7, 2017

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