British system of government

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Autor: Dievča ivanka88
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 25.07.2009
Jazyk: Angličtina
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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The head of State and commonwealth countries is a king or queen. For years it has been Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. but she is only a formal head and her powers are limited by the constitution. The Queen is also the temporal head of the Church of England (the Anglican Church). The Queen’s residence is Buckingham Palace in London. The country is governed, in her name, by the Government, a body of ministers, which is called the Cabinet (consists of 22 leading ministers), who are responsible to Parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926 (her birthday is officially celebrated in June); She married Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh on 20th November 1947. She acceded to the throne on 6th February 1952 and she was crowned on 2nd June 1953. She has four children - Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. The Queen’s eldest son - Prince Charles, Prince of Wales - is the heir to the throne. As head os State, the Queen is informed and consulted on every aspect of national life. Royal duties include visiting many parts of the country each year, visiting foreign goverments. Her official title is: „Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.“ Despite the scandals in recent years, the Royal Family is still well loved by many people.
 
The supreme legislative authority in the U.K. is the British Parliament. The British system of government is the oldest parliamentary democracy in Europe. British parliament was formed in the eleventh century and, after the signing of the Magna Charta by King John in the year 1215, it came to power and became the main part in the system of government. In this way, England set up the base of democracy in the whole Europe.
 
The British constitution, unlike that of most of other countries, is not written as a single document. It is formed partly by statute, partly by common law and partly by convention. It can be altered by an Act of Parliament, or by general agreement to change convention. The whole system is very adaptable.
 
The Parliament consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The two Houses share the same building, the Palace of Westminster in London.
The Sovereign formally summons and dissolves Parliament and generally opens each new annual session with a speech from the throne.
The House of Lords (the Upper House) is made up of hereditary and life peers and peeresses, (Lords Temporal), 2 archbishops and 24 bishops of the Church of England. (Lords Spiritual). Its main function is law-making. The chairman of the House of Lords is the Lord Chancellor.
The House of Commons (the Lower House) has 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) - 523 from England, 72 from Scotland, 38 from Wales and 17 from Northern Ireland.

The MPs are elected at a general election held every five years or at by-election held when a particular seat falls vacant between General election due to death or resignation of the sitting member. Each member represents a constituency, one of the areas into which the United Kingdom is diveded for electoral purposes. Voting is not compulsory, is by secret ballot and is from the age of 18. Candidates for election must be over 21.
The winning party forms the Government, which is supreme executive authority. Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister (leader of winning party - the present Prime Minister is the Labours leader Tony Blair. Prime minister lives at 10 Downing Street in London). The second party becomes official Opposition and forms the Shadow-Cabinet. The Opposition has a duty to criticise goverment policies and to present an alternative programme.
The chief officer of the House of Commons is the Speaker, elected by MPs to preside over the House. A proposal of some new law - a bill - must pass through both Houses and then is sent to the Queen for Royal Assent.
 
There are two main political parties: Conservative and Labour parties.
Conservative Party (right wing) represents the interests of the capitalist class. It is the party of the rich and privileged.
Labour Party (left wing), is a mass political party of the British workers. It’s a reformist party. It’s for social reforms, but aganist revolutionary changes.
 
The judicial branch is headed by the Higest Court, made up of 19 law lords, who are members of the House of Lords. It is also the final court of appeal. British national flag symbolises the Union of England, Scotland and Ireland. Each country has its cross in the flag. England - St.George’s Cross, Scotland - St. Andrew’s Cross, Ireland - St. Patrick’s Cross. British national flag is sometimes called Union Jack. The name of national anthem is „God Save the Queen!“. Britain is the member of nearly all important international organisations - UN, NATO.
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