The Westminster turn

The UK Parliament is in the process of enacting a few bills that have significant impact on its electoral process. Given that India follows the Westminster model, and shares some of the same challenges, it is pertinent to understand the implications of these proposals.

There are two important bills that are under consideration. One bill fixes the length of every Parliament at five years, and removes the prime minister’s prerogative to call for early elections. The second bill changes the electoral system for the House of Commons from the first-past-the-post system to a form of transferable vote system. It also redraws constituency boundaries to equate population sizes.

The Fixed Term Parliament Bill states that the term of Parliament will be five years and a general election will be held on the first Thursday of May every fifth year. There are only two conditions in which Parliament may be dissolved earlier — if two thirds of the members of Commons vote for dissolution, or if the government loses a vote of no-confidence, and no other person can win a confidence vote within 14 days.