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B)The UK Political System


Words and expressions

1. 3 branches of a power

2. chamber

3. to be elected

4. constituencies

5. a voter (to vote)

6. to make laws

7. the Royal Assent

8. the bill becomes law.

9. to be responsible for

10. no written constitution

11. hereditary sovereign

12. to dissolve

13. no clear majority

14. reigns but does not rule


Great Britain is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of State. There are 3 branches of a power in the UK: the legislative, the executive and the judicial.

The legislative, Parliament, consists of 2 chambers – the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The members of the House of Lords are not elected; they are hereditary peers, spiritual peers and life peers. The members of the House of Commons are elected by the people every 5 years. It is the real governing body of the UK. The main function of Parliament is to make laws.

The executive consists of the central Government – that is the Prime Minister and Cabinet and other ministers, who are responsible for initiating and directing the national policy, government departments, local authorities and public corporations. The government is usually formed by the political party, which is supported by the majority in the House of Commons. The party’s leader is appointed Prime Minister by the Queen. He chooses a team of ministers and 20 of them are in his Cabinet. The second largest party becomes the Official Opposition with its own leader and “Shadow Cabinet”. The executive power is divided into 3 parts: the Privy Council, the Ministry and Government Departments. The functions of the Prime Minister are: leading the party, running the Government, appointing Cabinet of Ministers and other ministers, representing the nation in political matters. All the ministers must be members of Parliament. (Tony Blair, the Labour Party).

The judicial branch determines common law and interprets statutes and is independent of both the legislature and the executive.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a constitutional monarchyand it means that the government is by a hereditary sovereign, but the powers of the monarch are limited by the country’s constitution. In theory the constitution safeguards the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. In Great Britain there is no written constitution, only customs, traditions and precedents.

The sovereign has the title of King (or Queen). The Queen is Elizabeth II.

She is the official Head of State and a symbol of the nation.

The division of powers:


Monarch House of Lords House of Commons


Government Cabinet Ministries


Judges Courts




Words and expressions

1. the House of Commons and the House of Lords

2. the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual

3. senior bishops

4. to be appointed by

5. life peers

6. must be approved

7. providing money through taxation

Parliament of the UK is the supreme legislative authority and it has two parts: The House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Members of the House of Commons are elected by the voters of 650 constituencies every five years. They are known as MPs, or Members of Parliament. The chief officer of the House of Commons is the Speaker.

Members of the House of Lords are not elected. The House of Lords consists of the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual. The Lords Spiritual are the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, together with twenty-four senior bishops of the Church of England. The Lords Temporal consist of hereditary peers who have inherited their titles; life peers who are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Government for various services to the nation; and the Lords of Appeal who become life peers on their judicial appointments. The House is presided over by the Lord Chancellor, who sits on the woolsack and controls the procedure.

The main function of Parliament is to make laws. In order to become a law, a new bill must be approved by both houses of Parliament and must get the Royal Assent, the Queen must sign it and the bill becomes law.

There are some other functions of British Parliament, such as: debating political questions, examining government policy, and providing money through taxation. Every year Parliament passes about a hundred laws directly, by making Acts of Parliament

A) Monarchy in Britain.


Words and expressions

1. not absolute

2. hereditary and not elective

3. to be virtual ruler

4. the leader of the party

5. the Government

6. the Opposition

7. summons, prorogues and dissolves

8. to conclude treaties

9. to declare war

10. Privy Council

11. the final court of appeal

12. the wealthiest woman

13. a symbol of the unity of the nation

14. ceremonial functions

15. the Commonwealth

16. source

17. opinion poll

The United Kingdom is one of six constitutional monarchies within Europe. Britain’s monarchy is the oldest, dating back to the 9th century. The Queen of Britain is not absolute but constitutional. Her powers are limited by the Parliament. Queen’s power is hereditary and not elective.

In practice the Monarch has no actual power: they say the Monarch reigns but does not rule. She never vetoes bills passed by Parliament.

The Prime Minister is the virtual ruler of the country. All the affairs of the state are conducted in the name of the Queen, but really the Prime Minister is responsible for every measure submitted to Parliament. Although the Queen is a figurehead representing the country, she has the power to prevent any politician from establishing a dictatorship.

The Queen summons, prorogues and dissolves Parliament. Normally she opens each session with a speech from the throne outlining the Government’s programme. It is her duty to make appointments to all-important state offices, including those of judges, officers in the armed forces, diplomats. She must, in theory at least, see all Cabinet documents. The Queen has the power to conclude treaties, to declare war and make peace.

The Queen has her own Privy Council. The Cabinet developed from this Council, which used to be body of advisers of English monarchs. The Privy Council consists of members of the royal family, the archbishops, colonial governors and senior ministers. There are about 300 of them altogether. The committee of the Privy Council, the Judicial Committee, however, is the final court of appeal for the British – a Royal Court.

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. She has 4 children: one daughter and 3 sons. The Queen’s heir is Charles, Prince of Wales. He was born in 1948, educated in Cambridge, served in the Royal Navy. Now he is involved in various aspects of public life, in particular industry and government.

The Royal family is the principal aristocratic house in Britain, closely connected with other members of the hereditary aristocracy and with big finance interests. The Queen is known to be among the wealthiest women in the world. The Royal Family’s money comes from 2 sources: government funds and their own personal wealth, which is considerable.

The monarchy is very popular nowadays. Great state events such as royal weddings attract many tourists.

One famous newspaper conducted an opinion poll. People were asked whom they would vote for as President if there were no monarchy. More than 80 per cent chose the Queen, Prince Charles came second, closely followed by his father, Prince Philip. The Prime minister was the fourth – with 2 per cent of the votes.


The Queen has the following functions:

§ Opening and closing Parliament;

§ Approving the appointment of the Prime Minister and other ministers;

§ Giving her Royal Assent to bills;

§ Giving honours such as peerages, knighthoods and medals;

§ Head of the Commonwealth;

§ Head of the Church of England;

§ Commander-in-chief of the armed forces.



.4. Belarus. The System of Government.

Words and expressions


1. independent state

2. land-locked country

3. borders on

4. the size of its territory

5. is divided into

6. population

7. highly industrially developed


8. free-market relations

9. no ethnic or religious conflicts

10. different political trends

11. ancient city

12. foreign invaders

14. presidential republic

15. the chief of the state

16. is chosen

17. the Council of Ministers

18. the House of Representatives

and the Soviet of Republic

19. the fulfilment of the republican


20. financial and tax relations


Since 1991, the Republic of Belarus has taken its place in Eastern Europe as an independent state. The history of Belarus goes back as far as the 10th century. Belarus is a land-locked country and borders on Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. It has an area of 207,600 square kilometres. By the size of its territory it ranks 13th among the European states.

Administratively the country is divided into 6 regions: Brest, Gomel, Grodno, Minsk, Mogilev and Vitebsk. The regions are divided into districts.

Belarus’ population is about 10 million. Belarussian and Russian languages are the state languages of the country.

Belarus is rather a highly industrially developed country. A great amount of goods produced by the Belarussian industries and agriculture is oriented towards the CIS countries markets.

The main branches of the Belarus industry are machine building, chemical, wood processing, light and food industries.

Belarus is an energy-dependent country. The problem of energy provision is one of the most urgent.

Belarus possesses a great scientific and technical potential, the basis of which constitute the Academy of Sciences, 38 higher educational institutions, numerous scientific research institutions and laboratories.

From 1990 there started to develop free-market relations in the Belarussian economy.

In Belarus there are no ethnic or religious conflicts, there is no open contradiction between political opponents, though there are different political trends in the society.

The capital of Belarus is Minsk. It is an ancient city known from 1067.

During its long history it was several times ruined by foreign invaders. Now Minsk has a population of 1,8 million. The citizens of Minsk are proud of their city.

Belarus is a presidential republic. State power in the country is formed and realized through three main branches – legislative, executive and judicial.

The President of the Republic of Belarus is the chief of the state. He is chosen in a national election for a five-term office and may be re-elected for a second term. The President of the Republic of Belarus appoints Republic referendums, members of the central committee, organizes and reorganizes the President’s Administration. The Prime Minister is also appointed by the President but must be approved by the House of Representatives.

The executive power is carried out by the Council of Ministers. It is headed by a Prime Minister. The local management and self-management is carried out through local councils of deputies, executive bodies, bodies of self-management, referendums, etc.

Parliament, the legislative branch of the government, consists of the House of Representatives and the Soviet of Republic. The House has 110 members. They are elected by the national election. The members of the Soviet of Republic represent the population of districts into which Belarus is divided. The right of the legislative initiative belongs to the President, the deputies of the House of Representatives, the government. Any bill first passes through the House of Representatives and then – through the Soviet of Republic.

The judicial power is performed by courts. Its main instrument is the Constitutional Court, which watches over the other two branches. It consists of 12 justices, 6 of them are appointed by the President, the others are elected by the Soviet of Republic.

Control over the fulfilment of the republican budget, the utilization of the state property, the execution of parliamentary acts, regulating the relations with state property, economic, financial and tax relations is carried out by the State Control Committee.


Курс 4 семестр.


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