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If you are looking for a list of previous By-Elections, see Elections

By-Election
Category Type of election
Run by Speaker of the Commons
First By-Election March 2012
Number of General Elections 9

By-Elections are triggered when there is a spare seat that needs to be given to either a party or an independent. The Speaker of the Commons is responsible for being the returning officer in by-elections.

In February 2012, Metrobeans successfully passed an amendment, by a comfortable margin, that would introduce by-elections into the MHoC. The first by-election took place a month later and they have remained an important part of the House ever since.

By-Election Process

It takes roughly 11 days for the by-election process to be completed.

Announcement of a By-Election

There are 2 main scenarios in which a by-election may take place, both involving the Speaker removing the seat from the MP in question and their respective party: if a seat has less than a 70% voting percentage for more than one voting review in a term, and if a party is closed down. In exceptional circumstances, a Speaker may not choose to carry out a by-election following a poor performance from a seat in a voting review but this is very rare.

When there is a by-election, the Speaker will create a notification thread, alerting parties and independent candidates that they have 7 days to send him/her their manifesto. It is worth noting that although technically all the candidates in by-elections are standing as individuals, they will be endorsed by either the party, sometimes the government, that they belong to. Different parties have different ways of selecting candidates, for example some hold primary elections, and sometimes, they may opt not to stand a candidate in a by-election. Also, it is often parties who create the manifestos and not the candidate.

There are several rules concerning by-elections that must be obeyed:

  • Manifestos must conform to the content and length regulations of General Election manifestos.
  • Manifestos must be sent to the Speaker by the deadline (any received after this time will be accepted at the Speaker's discretion).
  • Each party can only have one candidate running under their banner.
  • If there are fewer than 5 seats to be assigned, the resulting by-election may only be contested by independents or individuals running under a party banner. If there are 5 or more, general election criteria for candidates will apply.
  • MPs are not eligible to stand.
  • Any person wishing to stand as an independent must resign from their former party.
  • Parties whose seat(s) were put up for by-election are prohibited from standing in the by-election in question.

There have been several cases in the past where parties have asked their most influential MP to resign and stand in a by-election in the hope that they will win the party an additional seat. An example of this in action was when Nigel Farage MEP resigned as an MP to stand in By-Election VIII.

Manifestos are published and voting opens

If the same amount of candidates, or less, submit manifestos as the number of seats available, the seats will automatically assigned and the by-election shall be cancelled. If there are more candidates than seats however, the by-election will continue. Seven days after the announcement of the by-election, the Speaker will create another thread where all the manifestos will be posted. A secret poll will be put up with an option for each candidate and an option for 'spolit ballot'. It will be a multiple choice poll unless there is only 1 seat being contested. The majority of the debating will happen in this thread with the candidates challenging each other and putting forward their case as to why people should vote for them. As with general elections, all TSR members with more than 100 posts and 3 months experience may vote in the election.

If there are fewer than 5 seats to be assigned, the candidate(s) with the highest number of the votes will be elected. However, if there are 5 or more seats to be assigned, the D'Hondt method of proportional representation will be used to allocate the seats and an extra seat may be permitted if necessary.

Results are announced

Another four days later, the voting closes and in theory, the seat(s) should be assigned. However, the Speaker often requests the Community Team to send him or her a list of voters so that invalid votes can be removed. This means that the results can be delayed for a few days. For By-Election VII, it took several weeks for the final standings to be revealed. It is worth noting that the results of by-elections will not affect who is in Government or Opposition.

External Links

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