Partie 5 : Problèmes de société

Chapitre 50 : Democracy

Elements of democracy, page 106

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legislative and executive power
the incumbent president
a four-year presidential term
a five-year term
a Member of Parliament, an MP
the House of Commons
the House of Lords
a Representative
the House of Representatives
the Senate
to dissolve parliament
a parliamentary session
a bill
to amend a bill
a committee

Unlike most democratic countries, Britain doesn’t have a written constitution.

The head of a government is often a Prime minister. In the UK the Prime minister leads the Cabinet, i.e. the Executive. He or she enacts the legislative agenda of his or her political party. He or she also appoints all ministers and of course he or she dismisses them.

Voting, page 106

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a voter, an elector
to call an election
an election, a poll
a constituency
an opinion poll
to abstain
an abstainer, a non-voter
the voting age
a polling station
a polling booth
a ballot paper
a ballot box
the turnout
to canvass
an election campaign
accountable, liable

Should everyone be allowed to vote?

Food for thought, page 107

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Should everyone be allowed to vote?
Even in a highly democratic country like the UK some people are barred from voting: people in prison, people who are convicted of electoral malpractice or who have severe intellectual disabilities, like people who are detained in psychiatric hospitals.

It is commonly thought that members of the British Royal family are not allowed to vote. This is not true. They can vote, even the Queen or King, but they do not do so because they do not want to seem partisan.

In some countries, homeless people are not allowed to vote.

So, there are limits to “universal suffrage”, i.e. the right of all people to vote. Needless to say, all countries have a legal voting age, which varies from 16 to 21.