a few useful definitions.
might abstain in a vote. This means that they are voting neither
for nor against a motion. There is a special button on their
desk if they wish to abstain during a vote.
member of Parliament without special ministerial duties.
Box: A receptacle for voters' ballots.
A set of proposals that might become a law, if Parliament
agrees to it.
special election held to fill the seat of a Member of the
House of Assembly who has died or resigned.
The group of senior ministers in a government.
Competition by rival political candidates and organizations
for public office.
A person running for office in an election.
Servants: People who work for the Government.
They are expected to be neutral, in other words not do anything
that favours one Party over another.
An arrangement between more than one political party/group.
This would usually happen when no party wins more than half
of the seats in the Parliament.
A geographical district from which a Member of
Parliament is elected. The House of assembly is comprised
of 30 MPs, each from a single-seat constituency in Barbados.
A person having the right to vote or elect; any of the voters
represented by a particular official.
set of basic rules by which a country or state is governed.
A system of government by the whole population, usually through
elected representatives; a state so governed; any organisation
governed on democratic principles; an egalitarian and tolerant
form of society.
The collective name given to all the people who have the right
These are used to pick the people in charge
of our country. Everyone over the age of 18 usually gets the
chance to vote in an election.
Poll: A poll taken of a small percentage of voters
as they leave the polls, used to forecast the outcome of an
election or determine the reasons for voting decisions.
use of long speeches or other tactics in Parliament to delay
deliberately a vote or decision.
past the post: A system of direct election by which
members of Parliament win their seats by garnering a plurality
of votes. The system is criticised by those who contend it
locks out parties that win a significant percentage of the
total vote but fall short of a plurality. Find
out more about Types of Electoral Systems»
The dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts
so as to give one political party a majority in many districts
while concentrating the voting strength of the other party
into as few districts as possible.
The involvement of common citizens in an issue or campaign.
name of the lower house of Parliament in Barbados.
An ideology is a set of ideas about how the country
should be run. Each Party in the Parliament has its own ideology.
This will help them to decide about the policies that they
want the Parliament to put into place.
A person currently in office.
A voter or candidate who does not belong to a political party.
An election in which a particular victorious candidate
or party receives an overwhelming mass or majority of votes.
These are rules deciding what can and can't
be done in a country. If you break the law, you may be punished
in some way. The Scottish Parliament can pass laws on devolved
of the Opposition:
leader of the party or coalition of parties which is the next
largest after the government party in the House of Assembly,
and which is made up of members who do not support the government.
The process of making new laws.
A formal statement of political beliefs and objectives
presented by a party to the electorate. Manifestos have traditionally
been a lynchpin of party politics in Barbados.
Member of Parliament. MPs are elected for five-year
terms from single-seat districts throughout Barbados. Each
of the country's 30 MPs represents his or her home constituency
in Parliament's lower chamber, the House of Assembly.
A government formed by a party or coalition of parties which
does not have a majority in the House of Assembly in its own
A statement or argument that has to be debated and
voted upon in the Chamber.
The person chosen by a political party to serve as its representative
in a general election.
An idea or person that does not support a specific party,
cause, or candidate.
A parliament is a group of elected representatives
that debates and decides upon new laws. You might hear the
Scottish Parliament referred to simply as "the Parliament".
A supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially
a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.
A group of persons with common political opinions and purposes,
organized for gaining political influence and governmental
control, and for directing government policy.
These are the ideas and proposals that the different
parties have for changing things that they don't like, or
improving things they are in favour of.
A sampling or collection of opinions on a subject. Also, the
place where people vote.
A person whose occupation is the taking of public-opinion
groups: These are organisations that want
to change policy. They focus on particular issues.
Representation: This is a way of counting
the votes in an election. Under proportional representation,
the number of MPs each Party ends up with in the Parliament
is closely linked to the percentage of votes they got in the
Gallery: The seats on the balcony of the main
Chamber where the public can sit and watch what's happening.
A referendum is held when the Government wants to find
out what everybody in the country thinks about a particular
In a democracy, everyone has rights (things you are
free to do) and responsibilities (things you are expected
to do), e.g. you have the right to vote in an election, but
you have the responsibility to accept the choice of the majority;
you have the right to drive a car, but you have the responsibility
to pass a test first.
Cabinet: The leadership of the opposition, poised
to take the reins of government and its ministries in the
event elections are called and lost by the ruling majority
party. Shadow cabinets operate in a manner akin to a government
in exile, formulating policies they are not empowered to enact
-- but that might become law if they were elected.
Member who is elected by the House of Assembly as its presiding
The presentation of information that is biased to favor the
candidates. Advisors to the candidates may engage in 'spin'
in their communications to the media.
of one chamber or house, especially of a law-making body.
number of people who actually vote on the day of the election.
This is usually expressed as a percentage of the electorate.
(for an election):
Formal orders, issued by the Governor-General in the requiring
that an election be held.