UK election results in a hung parliament

A Noose

A hung parliament is not good noose. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The UK election has indeed resulted in a hung parliament, which a lot of people were worried about.  While the term itself may avail itself to juvenile humor, a hung parliament is actually not that funny.  The last hung parliament (as a result of a General Election) occurred in 1974, and had to be resolved by a special election eight months later.  Some people are likely confused as to what that means, so we’ll go ahead and brush up on our Poli-Sci, and y0u won’t need to give me any fast cash for doing so. (But if you want to, I won’t stop you.)

Hung Parliament and the UK election

The UK election results have failed to establish an absolute majority in British Parliament, meaning they have a hung parliament. What that means is that unless certain things happen, the Parliament of Great Britain won’t be able to effectively do anything.  Oh, and it may bear mention that means they can’t, in essence, pick a Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasurer), or anything else. In essence, the government of Great Britain becomes powerless in the event of a hung parliament.

Comparative World Governments: Welcome to Class

In short, whichever party wins the most seats in UK elections gets to form the government  (Prime Minister and so forth). When there isn’t an absolute majority, that means that regardless of who actually got the most votes, they won’t be able to do much of anything because everyone else outnumbers them.  When that happens, there can be either a minority government (trying to make it work anyway, which rarely works) a coalition government by making agreements with another party, or have another election.

What happened?

In the 2010 UK General Election (held every five years), the Conservative Party, headed by David Cameron, won more seats than the Labor Party and incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown.  Conservative Party candidates won 36.1 percent of the seats, and Labor took 29.3 percent.  The Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg, won almost 23 percent. The Conservative Party, while holding more seats than the others, won’t be able to hold a majority in Parliament, as there are far more of everyone than them.

What happens now?

According to the Guardian, Conservative Leader David Cameron has reached out to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition government.  There are conditions, of course, but as it still is a work in progress, it may be awhile before there is a clear government of Great Britain.