As political parties in the United Kingdom finished their election campaign, the country is set to vote for their favourite candidates and parties on December 12. In the Westminster system, parliamentarians for the House of Commons are elected through ‘first past the post system’ and people on the electoral roll will decide on the composition of 650 seats.
Parties need to get past the halfway mark, i.e. at least 326, but any of the parties would be satisfied with slightly fewer seats since the Speaker and the three deputies do not take part in the voting to remain impartial. The Members of Parliament of the Sinn Féin, a left-wing Irish republican political party, do not take the oath of allegiance, so technically they never become MPs eligible to vote in the Parliament. This can take the magic figure even lower and Conservatives would be, practically, satisfied with any number greater than 320, which is considered as a safe majority.
The Conservative Party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is betting on the central theme of ‘Get Brexit Done’ and promised the voters to exit the European Union (Eu) on January 31, if voted to power with a majority. A clear majority has been an issue for the Conservatives which became a hindrance while getting the Brexit done. This forced the ruling government to dissolve the parliament and call for another election to ensure Brexit on or before the fresh deadline.
Conservatives have fielded 635 candidates while the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, will be contesting on 631 seats. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had announced that his party will not field candidates in 317 Conservative-held seats, which gives an upper hand to the Conservatives since the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats are challenging in 611 constituencies.
According to the Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA), the fate of 3,321 candidates will be decided in the general elections. In the last election, Boris Johnson won from Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency with mere 5,034 votes majority, the smallest for a sitting prime minister since 1924. No incumbent Prime Minister, in Britain, has lost its seat in general elections and Johnson would be the first one if he loses from Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Johnson’s constituency is also the one with the highest number of candidates and the only seat where more than 10 people are contesting.