Countdown to 10 June: A Winning Formula

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For Londoners, 'Super Thursday' will be the most complicated election ever held. Sally Campbell demystifies the process.

There are three elections taking place on 10 June:


European Parliament

Which voting system is used?

Regional list system: The UK is divided into 12 regions (eg North East, North West, London, Scotland) and each elects a certain number of MEPs, so London is likely to elect nine, Scotland eight, North West ten.

Each political party puts forward a list of candidates for the region matching the number of seats (independents can also stand as individuals).

Once the votes are in, the complicated method of seat allocation (the d'Hondt formula - see the website www.londonelects.org.uk) should mean that the proportion of seats given to each party/independent is roughly equivalent to their share of the vote.

  • You have one vote. The ballot paper is white.

As well as the European Parliament vote, Londoners have two more elections and four more votes!


London Assembly

Which voting system is used?

Combination of first past the post and proportional representation (using the d'Hondt system as above). The London Assembly has 25 members: 14 constituency members and 11 London-wide members.

London is divided into 14 large constituencies (eg North East encompassing Islington, Hackney and Waltham Forest), and each elects one constituency member on a first past the post basis.

The 11 London-wide seats are filled proportionally using the list system. This is where smaller parties are most likely to get elected - in the 2000 elections, for example, the Green Party did not win any constituency seats, but got enough votes across London for their list to gain three London-wide seats (just one fewer than the Lib Dems). Therefore, if someone is prepared to give just one vote to Respect, they must give it to the London-wide list headed by Lindsey German.

  • You have two votes: one for your local constituency and one for the London-wide seats. The ballot paper is yellow and orange.

London Mayor

Which voting system is used?

As long as there are more than two candidates, the supplementary vote system. You vote for a first and second choice for mayor. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the first choice votes, she/he is elected automatically. If no one gets 50 percent, all but the two candidates with the highest number of first choice votes are eliminated. The second choices from the eliminated candidates are then added to the totals of the two remaining candidates, and the winner is the one with the most first and second choices.

  • You have two votes: first choice and second choice. You must put down a first choice, but you don't have to put a second choice. The ballot paper is pink.

'In the Greater London Assembly (GLA) elections in May 2000, over 46,500 London voters gave at least one of their votes to the London Socialist Alliance, an organisation which was only launched in January of that year. If the turnout in the June 2004 elections is as low as 25 percent, which is a reasonable guess given the level of resentment and cynicism for official politics (the last GLA elections saw only a 34 percent turnout despite all the hullabaloo over Livingstone), then Lindsey German could be elected to the London Assembly with just 60,000 list votes. If it's as low as 20 percent (and only 18 percent of people polled recently said they were likely to vote), it would be just 50,000. And George Galloway could be elected to the European Parliament with a little over 100,000 votes. Given Respect's much greater assets than the Socialist Alliance, these targets are clearly achievable.'

Rob Hoveman, Respect office


Coming soon...

'I'm standing for mayor because I think Londoners need a voice-for the poor, for the oppressed, for those who need housing and decent transport, for those who opppose war and privatisation. These are the issues I will be campaigning about, and I believe many people in London will identify with that.'

Follow Lindsey German's own account on the campaign trail for the London mayor and the GLA. Log on to www.socialistreview.org.uk/blog to read her election blog from 1 May.