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Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A constituency is any cohesive body of people bound by shared identity, goals, or loyalty. Constituency can be used to describe a business's customer base and shareholders, or a charity's donors or those it serves. In politics, a constituency can mean either the people from whom an individual or organization hopes to attract support, or the people or geographical area that a particular elected official represents.

A constituent is any member of a constituency, including those who did not vote for an elected representative.

The term is frequently used in US politics. In most democracies the term is not that relevant, since the electorate is represented by more than one elected legislator, and the elected legislator has a responsibility to all the electorate rather than to his constituents. In the US system electorate and constituents are identical groups, but that is not the case in representative democracies. The electorate are all who can vote in the election (e.g. to the parliament), but the constituents are only those who can vote for a particular candidate in that election.

In US political campaigns the term is often used to divide the legislator's electorate into separate groups, for instance along racial lines, religious lines, cultural lines, sexual preference lines, etc. (e.g., 'the LGBT constituency', which shall be interpreted as the intersection of the LGBT community, and the Constituency).

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Outreach to a constituency

The franking privilege in the United States Congress allows elected members to freely send direct mail to their entire constituency.

Core constituency

The term core constituency is sometimes used to refer to a base of supporters. The constituency of a member of Congress, for instance, might be every citizen in his district, but his core constituency could be the people who voted for him in the last election.

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References

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CONSTITUENCY (from "constituent," that which forms a necessary part of a thing; Lat. constituere, to create), a political term for the body of electors who choose a representative for parliament or for any other public assembly, for the place or district possessing the right to elect a representative, and for the residents generally, apart from their voting powers, in such a locality. The term is also applied, in a transferred sense, to the readers of a particular newspaper, the customers of a business and the like.


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Simple English

Simple English Wiktionary has the word meaning for:

A constituency is any cohesive corporate unit or body bound by shared structures, goals or loyalty.

In the United Kingdom, a parliamentary constituency is sometimes called a Parliamentary seat or a Division. Constituencies for local government elections are called either Wards or electoral divisions.

As of 2005, there are 646 House of Commons constituencies in the UK:

Northern Ireland has 18 constituencies, each of which elect six MLAs to the Northern Ireland Assembly under the Single Transferable Vote system.

The Scottish Parliament has 73 single-member constituencies elected on a first past the post basis, with the remaining 56 seats in the parliament being selected by the Additional Member System (AMS). Since the passage of the Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004, the constituencies of the Scottish Parliament are no longer identical to those of the House of Commons.

The National Assembly for Wales has 40 constituencies elected by first past the post which are identical to the Welsh constituencies of the House of Commons. Its remaining 20 seats are selected by AMS.

The London Assembly has 14 constituencies elected by first past the post, described in the article on London Assembly constituencies. Its remaining 11 seats are also selected by AMS.


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