May 5, 2011 Held

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Voter Participation

Cast Votes:19,279,022
Valid Votes:19,165,730
Invalid Votes:113,292

Referendum Vote Share

"At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead?"




Election Results Modified: Jun 21, 2024

General Information

At stake in this Referendum:

  • A referendum to adopt an alternative vote (AV) electoral system.

Description of government structure:

  • Chief of State: Queen ELIZABETH II
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister David CAMERON **
  • Assembly: United Kingdom has a bicameral Parliament consisting of the House of Lords with 693 seats* and the House of Commons with 646 seats**.

* Heir Apparent Prince CHARLES (son of the queen, born 14 November 1948)

Description of electoral system:

  • The Queen is hereditary.
  • The Prime Minister is elected by parliament to serve a 5-year term.*
  • In the House of Lords, 526 members are appointed by the monarch and 92 members are hereditary *. In the House of Commons 659 members are elected by simple majority vote in single-member constituencies to serve 5-year terms.**

** Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually the prime minister.

* The Queen formally appoints life peers based on a recommendation from the Prime Minister. The right of hereditary Peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords was ended in 1999 by the House of Lords Act. However, 92 members will remain until the next stage of the Lords reform process.

** Starting with the 2005 parliamentary term, the number of Scottish constituencies in the UK parliament was reduced by 13 to restore parity with English seats after the 1999 Scottish devolution. The House of Commons consequently shrank to 646 seats.

Main provisions in the Referendum:

  • A referendum to introduce an the alternative vote (AV) electoral system "At present, the UK uses the 'first past the post' system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the 'alternative vote' system be used instead?"
    Welch description: Ar hyn o bryd, mae’r DU yn defnyddio’r system “y cyntaf i’r felin” i ethol ASau i Doe’r Cyffredin. A ddylid defnyddio’r system “pleidlais amgen” yn lle hynny?

Electoral Requirements

  • An absolute majority of voters must vote "Yes"

Population and number of registered voters:

  • Population: 61,113,205 (July 2009 est.)
  • Registered Voters: 45,684,501 (May 2011)

Gender Data:

·         Female Population: 32,157,952 (2011)

·         Is United Kingdom a signatory to CEDAW: Yes (22 July 1981)

·         Has United Kingdom ratified CEDAW: Yes (7 April 1986)

·         Gender Quota: No (there are some political parties that have adopted voluntary gender quotas)

·         Female candidates in this election: Yes

·         Number of Female Parliamentarians: 143 (House of Commons) (following the 2010 elections)

·         Human Development Index Position: 14 (2014)

·         Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A

Disability Data:

·         Is United Kingdom a signatory to CRPD: Yes (30 March 2007)

·         Has United Kingdom ratified CRPD: Yes (8 June 2009)

·         Population with a disability: 9,166,980 (est.)

Election Modified: Jun 21, 2024

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