Political Outline

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Political Outline

Political Outline

Type of State
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. It is divided into four parts called constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK is a unitary state with partial devolution of power in Scotland, Wales, and in Northern Ireland.
Executive Power
The Queen is the Chief of State. Though her role is in reality largely ceremonial, the Queen does continue to exercise three essential rights: the right to be consulted, the right to advise and the right to warn. Following legislative elections of the lower house of parliament, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed as Prime Minister by the Queen to serve a five-year term.


The Prime Minister is the Head of Government and enjoys all the executive powers that include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the Prime Minister.

Legislative Power
The legislature is bicameral in UK. The Parliament consists of the House of Lords (the upper house)—which has approximately 625 life peers, 92 hereditary peers and 26 clergy—and the House of Commons (the lower house)—which has 646 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. The Government is directly answerable to and dependent on the Parliament.
Main Political Parties
The three dominant parties: 
Labour Party: left-wing socialist and social democratic, grew out of trade union movement in the 19th century 
Conservative Party: centre-right; believes in free-market economy, strong military and traditional cultural values 
Liberal Democrats: centrist, moderate pro-European, opposed the Iraq war and strong on civil rights 
Among other parties, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the UK Indpendence Party (UKIP: Euro-skeptic, right-wing populist), made a strong showing in the May 2015 elections.
Current Political Leaders:
Queen: Elizabeth II (since February 1952) 
Prime Minister: Theresa May (since July 2016), Conservative Party
Next Election Dates
House of Commons: On or before 5 May 2022

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
2 places down compared to 2016

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2017, Reporters Without Borders

Indicator of Political Freedom

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:
Civil Liberties:

Map of freedom 2017 
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: June 2017