By mean of the elections people express their opionion how the country should be governed and who in their opinion would do it the best. In this essay I will try to compare how the main bodies of the Government are elected in all three countries – the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Lithuania. Political systems in all three countries are different, so I will try to find principal differencies and similarities in the process of electing the President and the Parliament.
Let’s start from the head of the state. The United States of America is a Federal Republic, consisting of 50 free states, which are joined together into a federation. The head of the USA like in Lithuania and differently from the UK is a President. In the UK the head of the state is a Monarch who inherits his titles and is not elected.
Qualifications for presidential candidates in the USA have remained the same since the year Washington accepted the presidency. As directed by the Constitution, a presidential candidate must be a natural born citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older. These requirements do not prohibit a woman or a person of colour from being President, but this hasn’t yet occured. The President is elected for a four year term. The incumbent president, even if he loses the election, stays in office until January so that he can run down his government in a controlled manner and so that the newly elected president can select his cabinet in an orderly manner and allow the standing president to deal with issues such as foreign policy which a president-elect might not be in a position to fully understand all the difficulties involved and domestic issues also for the same reason. This is not very different from Lithuania, where newly elected President takes the post only after taking an oath. And until that former president is still the head of the state.
It is traditional for an incoming President in the USA to be joined by the outgoing president at the swearing in ceremony held at Capitol Hill at noon on January 20 as this is seen as a gesture of unity
In Lithuania person who wants to become the President of the country must be at least 40 years old. The President is elected for five years term. The same person may not be elected President of Republic of Lithuania for more than two consecutive terms.
The elected President of the Republic of Lithuania begins his duties, after in Vilnius and in the presence of the members of the Seimas, taking an oath to the People, swearing to be loyal to the Republic of Lithuania and the Constitution, to conscientiously fulfil the duties of President, and to be equally just to all. The oath of the President is signed by the President and by the Chairperson of the Constitutional Court.
President of the Republic of Lithuania is elected only by citizens of Lithuania by secret ballot. Candidate who gets the most of the votes takes the post. In this aspect the system of electing the President is absolutelly different from that in the USA, where whole process of electing a new President takes about a year and the President is elected by the Electoral College. Another difference is that in Lithuania during the presidential elections only President is elected and in the USA – the President and the Vice President.
A general/presidential election in the USA is held in November of election year. It does not elect the President, just states in numeric terms how many people voted for each candidate but only that. The election of a president is determined by the Electoral College though their votes usually follow the popularity of the voters. The Electoral College system remains at the heart of the American electoral system. Each state has a number of delegates attached to it who are members of the state’s Electoral College. The number of delegates a state gets is dependent on its population and its representation in the House of Representatives. On election day, these electors, pledged to one or another candidate, are popularly elected. In December following the presidential vote, the electors meet in their respective state capitals and cast ballots for President and Vice President. To be elected, a President requires 270 Electoral votes.
It is possible that in a close race or a multiparty race the Electoral College might not cast 270 votes in favor of any candidate — in that event, the House of Representatives would choose the next president.. The presidential election is done on a winner-take-all basis in a state. Therefore if a candidate has most voters voting for him in one state he will get all the Electoral votes that state have. This is true even if the number of people who voted against him is greater than the number he received. But if his competitors received less votes than he did, candidate takes all the votes in that state.
‘Primary election’ is the term used in America for the elections which select the two parties (in the USA there are only two main parties) presidential nomination. The primary elections start in January of election year in what is called the „primary season“. A good start to the primaries is considered vital if a candidate is to become his party’s presidential nomination.
In both countries, Lithuania an USA age limit to be a voter is 18 years. Voting in the United States is a two-step process. There is no national list of eligible voters, so a citizen must first qualify by becoming
registered. Citizens register to vote in conjunction with the place they live; if they move to a new location, they typically have to register again. Registration systems have been designed to eliminate fraud. But the procedures for registering voters vary from state to state. In times past registration procedures were sometimes used to discourage certain citizens from participating in elections. Recently, there has been a tendency to ease registration requirements, and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (the „Motor Voter“ law) makes it possible for people to register to vote at the time they renew their drivers’ licenses. In Lithuania it is absolutelly different. There is a national list of eligible voters. According to the place person is registered he belongs to the electoral area. The voter’s certificate is delivered to the voter’s home. And only having this certificate person can vote. So, differently from the USA, in Lithuania people who has right to vote, don’t have to register themselves.