• Research Briefing

    Responsibilities of Returning Officers

    This Note sets out the general responsibilities of Returning Officers and Acting Returning Officers in Great Britain. They are appointed under the Representation of the People Act 1983 and are responsible for the conduct of elections.

  • Research Briefing

    Ethiopia in the run-up to May 2010 elections

    The 2005 federal and regional elections in Ethiopia produced a major political crisis. Now the electoral wheel has turned and observers are waiting to see whether the May 2010 elections will be less turbulent. This note provides a brief historical and social survey of Ethiopia. It then looks at the political situation in Ethiopia since 2005. It concludes with a short update on the state of the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute.

  • Research Briefing

    Donations to Members of Parliament

    From 1 July 2009 Members no longer have to report certain donations to both the Electoral Commission and Registrar of Members' Interests. The Note examines the history behind this dual requirement enacted in the Political Parties, Election and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). Section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 provided for dual registration to end, but implementation of this provision was delayed until July 2009. The Note also sets out the new limits on donations which have to be declared by Members, enacted in the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Candidate selection-Primaries

    This Note looks at the possibility of introducing primaries into the candidate selection processes of UK political parties, following the experiment of an open primary in Totnes, Devon, by the Conservative Party. It also examines experience of primaries in the United States, where the procedure is well established.

  • Research Briefing

    Progress of the Political Parties and Elections Bill 2008-09

    The Political Parties and Elections Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 17 July 2008 and was carried over from the 2007-08 session. The Bill received Royal Assent on 21 July 2009. This Note summarises the debates and changes made to the Bill in the House of Commons and the House of Lords after Committee stage in the Commons

  • Research Briefing

    European Parliament Elections 2009

    Elections to the European Parliament were held across the 27 states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. The UK elections were held concurrently with the county council elections in England on 4 June. The UK now has 72 MEPs, down from 78 at the last election, distributed between 12 regions. The Conservatives won 25 seats, both UKIP and Labour 13 and the Liberal Democrats 11. The Green Party held their two seats, while the BNP won their first two seats in the European parliament. Labour lost five seats compared with the comparative pre-election position. The Conservatives won the popular vote overall, and every region in Great Britain except the North East, where Labour won, and Scotland, where the SNP won. UKIP won more votes than Labour. UK turnout was 34.5%. Across Europe, centre-right parties, whether in power or opposition, tended to perform better than those on the centre-left. The exact political balance of the new Parliament depends on the formation of Groups. The UK was not alone in seeing gains for far-right and nationalistic parties. Turnout across the EU was 43%. It was particularly low in some of the newer Member States. Part 1 of this paper presents the full results of the UK elections, including regional analysis and local-level data. Part 2 presents summary results of the results across the EU, together with country-level summaries based on data from official national sources.

  • Research Briefing

    Local elections 2009

    This paper summarises the results of the local and mayoral elections held on 4 June 2009. Elections were held in all 27 shire counties in England (all seats) and seven English unitary authorities (Bedford, Bristol (one-third of seats), Central Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Shropshire and Wiltshire). The Conservatives made a net gain of seven councils and 244 seats. Labour made a net loss of four councils and 291 seats. The Liberal Democrats made a net loss of one council and two seats. The Greens gained eight seats in net terms while the UK Independence Party made a net gain of seven seats, and the British National Party made a net gain of three seats Estimates suggest that the Conservatives won 35% of the national equivalent share of the vote, Liberal Democrats 25% and Labour 22%. Turnout was estimated to be 35%. There were mayoral elections in three areas and UK-wide elections for the European Parliament on the same day

  • Research Briefing

    Electoral performance of the British National Party in the UK

    This note provides data on the electoral performance of the UK's British National Party (BNP) in local and parliamentary elections. This note has been updated to include results from the local elections held in England on 1 May 2008. It also comments upon results from various elections up to 2006, as well as overall results from the 2007 and 2008 local elections.