Most Britons are Republicans or Liberals

The political system in Great Britain

The queen and politics

Could you imagine that there would still be a king or queen in Germany?

Unlike in Germany, in Great Britain a queen (or the king) is the head of state. This is called a constitutional monarchy, which is also reflected in the official name of Great Britain: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). The United Kingdom comprises four parts of the country: England with the capital London, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As head of state, the queen or king theoretically has many rights and could determine a great deal. In practice, however, it has become so established in British politics that the queen or king primarily has a representative role and is a symbol of the tradition of Great Britain. The British attach great importance to the opinion of the Queen (or the King).

The British Constitution

Britain is often referred to as the "mother of modern democracy". Unlike most other states, the country does not have a written constitution (constitution) like the Basic Law in Germany, for example. British constitutional law is based on various sources such as what is known as common law (Common law), Conventions, Laws and Customs of Parliament.

British constitutional law has five undisputed basic principles, namely the unitary state, a constitutional monarchy, sovereignty of parliament, representative democracy and the rule of law.

Who rules the UK?

As we have already learned, the queen or the king keeps out of the day-to-day political events. This is determined by the government. The government consists of the prime minister (Prime Minister)who heads the government (head of government), and about 20 ministers (minister)who each head a ministry. Together they make up the cabinet (Cabinet).

The queen or the king appoints the prime minister. It is customary for the monarch to appoint a member of parliament capable of forming a majority government. The other ministers are appointed on the proposal of the Prime Minister.

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Who makes the laws and who speaks the law?

The UK Parliament is at the heart of the UK political system. This is where the laws are discussed and passed. It consists of two chambers, the lower house (House of Commons) and the House of Lords (House of Lords), as well as the respective monarch. The House of Commons plays the most important role in legislation. The lower house consists of approx. 650 MPs. A legislative period lasts a maximum of five years.

The main task of the House of Lords is to review the laws passed by the House of Commons. The upper house consists largely of nobles and high-ranking personalities such as B. Bishops and Judges.

The judiciary, i.e. the judiciary, is independent of the legislature and the government. The highest judgment is that Supreme Court.


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How do you vote in the UK?

Every five years the British elect the members of the lower house (House of Common). Any UK resident aged 18 or over is eligible to vote. In 650 constituencies (constituencies) one seat is assigned according to the majority vote.

Majority suffrage: The candidate with the most votes receives the seat in the lower house.

Because of the majority vote, two big parties dominate: the Conservatives (Conservative Party) and the Social Democrats (Labor Party). Continue to be the Liberal Democrats (Liberal Democrats) and regional parties represented in the lower house. If a party wins an absolute majority of the seats, it forms the new government with its party leader as prime minister.

The political system in the USA

The president and his power

The USA is one of the oldest democracies in the world. The USA is a federal state. The government and parliament are based in Washington. Although the US and UK are closely related, their political systems are fundamentally different from one another. While parliamentary democracy prevails in Europe, in the USA one speaks of a presidential democracy. What does that mean?

Presidential Democracy:
The president (president) the US is both head of state (head of state) as well as head of government (head of government)who is elected indirectly every four years by eligible citizens of the United States. By combining the two functions, his position is much more influential and powerful than the UK Prime Minister. Its strong position is supported by a comprehensive system of power control (checks and balances) balanced.

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The American Constitution

The strong role of the president goes back to the American Constitution. The United States Constitution is one of the oldest constitutions still in force. Although it has been changed a few times, the basic political and legal order has been in place since 1787. The United States of America (United States of America) are a federal republic with a presidential system. The political system is characterized by a Separation of powers in which legislation, administration and jurisdiction act separately from one another, but control one another through far-reaching entanglements (checks and balances). The core of the constitution is the presentation of the separation of powers, a list of basic rights (Bill of Rights) and the commitment to the rule of law (rule of law).

Separation of powers:
legislative power: legislative power
executive power: executive force
judical power: judicial power

Who else is part of the US government?

Unlike in parliamentary democracies, the US government is not elected from the middle of parliament and cannot introduce laws into parliament. Rather, the president's job is to ensure that federal laws are implemented. If the president wants to change laws, he has to convince the MPs of his goals and win them over to a legislative proposal. As head of government, however, he has extensive powers to determine policy through decrees. He is z. B. Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the highest diplomat.

In order to do justice to his task, the president is supported by a large number of employees and authorities. The president's cabinet includes the vice-president and 15 ministers (US: secretaries)who run the federal ministries, the Chief of Staff in the White House, and a few other officials. The ministers are appointed by the President with the approval of the Senate.

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Who makes the laws and who speaks the law in the USA?

The laws are discussed and passed in Congress (Congress). This consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives (House of Representatives) and the Senate (Senate).

The House of Representatives is composed of 435 directly elected and voting MPs (congressmen). The number of representatives a state sends is determined by its population.

The Senate consists of 100 senators. Every state, regardless of its population, sends two senators. These are directly elected for a six-year term by the electorate in their state. In the Senate, a third of the members are elected every two years.

As in Great Britain, the judiciary is independent of the legislature and the government. In the US, too, the supreme court is called Supreme Court.

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Who and how is elected in the USA?

In the United States, not only are the MPs and senators elected in Congress, but the president as well. As in the UK, citizens vote in the US according to majority voting. In this procedure, the person who received the most votes is elected. The other voices expire. As a result, there are so far only two relevant parties: the Democrats (Democratic Party) and the Republicans (Republican Party).

Presidential election

If you want to become President of the USA, you need staying power. In contrast to Europe, where the parties select their candidates, candidates for the presidency of a party have to come from public primaries. In the end, there is a Democratic and a Republican candidate. The subsequent election of the president is indirect. Electors are sent from each state to elect the president. The presidential candidates have to mobilize their supporters during their candidacy and collect a lot of donations for their election campaign.

Congress elections

The members of the House of Representatives are elected by majority vote in proportion to the population of a state. You are considered to be the representative of all citizens. The Senate, on the other hand, represents the federal states. Each state is represented by two senators, one third of whom stand for election every two years.