POLITICAL POWER

1. Political regimes

  In the UK In the US
Head of
state
= A hereditary monarch.
The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II (the 2nd)
= An elected president.
Today, the current president is Donald Trump
=> Political regime A monarchy = a political regime with a hereditary head of state (a monarch). A republic = a political regime with an elected head of state (a president).
Head of government The prime ministre (PM) Theresa May
NOT the queen
The president of the USA.
NO PM in the US
Both are elected and choose their Cabinet/government
Both hold the executive power and rule/govern the country
The PM is confirmed by the Queen
BUT it's a tradition, not an obligation
The government has to be confirmed by the Senate
=> System
of gvment
A parliamentary system A presidential system


2. Political powers

  In the UK In the US
The executive power
(the executive)
implements the law
held by the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street
+ the Cabinet (government)
NOT by the monarch in Buckingham Palace
held by the president in the White House
+ the vice-president (VP)
+ the government.
No PM in the USA
The legislative power
(the legislative)
makes law
held by Parliament in Westminster Palace
= House of Lords : Lords, hereditary or appointed for life by the Queen/PM
+ House of Commons : elected members of Parliament (MPs)
held by Congress in the Capitol
= Senate : elected Senators (Sen.)
+ House of Representatives : elected Representatives
The judicial power
(the judiciary)
applies law
held by the High Court held by the Supreme Court


3. Major elections

• Political parties

  In the UK In the US
• Holding the election
Since 2011, general elections (GE, legislative elections) are held every 5 year to elect MPs
=> PM : 5-year term, except in case of a snap election like in June 2017
The US president is elected every 4 year => 4-year tem
The president can stand for re-election only once => 2 terms maximum
• Winning the election In the 2015 UK general election, the Conservative Party won with 51% of MP seats in the House of Commons. It had a simple majority (majorit√© absolue) but only needed a simple plurality (majorit√© relative) to win the election.
=> The leader of the winning party automatically becomes PM
In the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump, a Republican, became president with the simple majority of the electors in the electoral college.
Donald Trump lost the popular vote with 47% to Hillary Clinton's 48%, but it's only symbolical and doesn't count because it's an indirect election.

 

• Major political events
The political consequences of the Brexit referendum (23 June 2016) in the UK
Conservative PM David Cameron organized a referendum to stay of leave the European Union (EU). He wanted the UK to remain in the EU but the Brexiteers won. Consequently, he resigned as party leader, and so as PM too. Theresa May, the new Tory leader, who supported Brexit, became the new PM, without a G.E.
Therasa May chose to call a snap election because she didn't want to wait until 2020, when the G.E. could have been upset by the Brexit negotiations.
Donald Trump's presidential race (2016-2017)
The US electoral year is precisely organized.
First, Donald Trump won the presidential nomination in the Republican party primaries organized in each state from January to June. In summer, at the party convention, he became the offical candidate for the Republican party and chose a candidate for the vice-presidency to form the Republican presidential ticket.
Then, he campaigned against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and won the election in early November. He became the president-elect as opposed to Barack Obama, the incumbent president.
Finally, he officially became the US president in January on Inauguration Day when he took the oath of office.

• Electoral system

Example 1 :

• Result in France : LR wins with a simple majority
• in the UK : the Conservatives win with a simple majority
• in the US : the 3 electors of the state will vote for the Democratic candidate (indirect vote)

Example 2 :

• Result in France : no simple majority => 2nd round or run-off
• in the UK : the Labour candidate wins with a simple plurality (no run-off)
• in the US : all 55 electors of the state will vote for the Republican candidate

=> In the US and the UK, winner-take-all or first-past-the-post (electoral) system