Three candidates are vying for the role of Prime Minister, Great Britain's equivalent of America's President, in the country's general election taking place Thursday. Members of the candidates' political parties are also competing for seats in Parliament, Britain's main legislative body.
Gordon Brown, the current Prime Minister, is fending off competition from David Cameron, a member of the British Conservative Party who held a steady lead in the polls until a few months ago. But, the traditional two-party battle between Brown's Labor party and the Conservatives that has dominated the political landscape in Britain for nearly a century has been rocked by the performance of the Liberal Democrats, and their leader, Nick Clegg, in a series of American-style televised debates.
The country's difficult economic climate has left many citizens seeking change, and the results of Thursday's voting will reveal what that change will entail. Political analysts say the polls show that almost any result is possible: an outright victory by one of the major parties, or an era of coalition government for the first time in more than three decades.
"This is your election. This is your country. When you go vote next -- next week, choose the future you really want. If you believe, like -- like I do, that we can do things differently this time, then, together, we really will change Britain." - Nick Clegg, Leader, U.K. Liberal Democrat Party
"Especially talking to younger people, I do get the real feeling that they're energized, and that the reason that they're registering is because they're intending to vote differently and vote Lib Dem." - Laura Edge, candidate for Parliament, Liberal Democrat Party
"Do we want five more years of Gordon Brown? Or do we want change with the Conservatives, who have got the energy to really get this country moving?" - David Cameron, leader, British Conservative Party
"Obviously, the key issue facing David Cameron, if he wins a majority and forms the government, is he has to get to grips with the economy. Unless we get the economy growing, nothing else can really be sorted out." - Mike Freer, parliamentary candidate, Conservative Party
1. What is a Prime Minister? How does that role compare to America's President?
2. What happens in an election if there are three candidates and no clear winner?
1. According to the video, what have British citizens experienced because of the economic downturn? How is it similar to or different from what Americans have experienced?
2. Based on what you learned from the video, how are the British and American systems of government different? How are they similar?
3. How do you think the outcome of the British election could affect the U.S.?
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