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Life around the world

Understanding elections: step-by-step politics

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I moved to Germany about 3 weeks ago, during the campaigns for the parliamentary elections, which was a really important time for German politics. I don’t always find it easy to understand politics, and it took a while to understand everything, but it was really worthwhile, so I thought I’d share the steps I took. They work for any country too!

5. Ask someone
I started off by asking people really simple questions. I asked my colleagues, but you can ask your politics/language teachers, parents, or friends. Ask questions such as:

- What kind of election is it?
- When are the results?
- What parties are running?
They’ll talk at the right level for you, and if you don’t understand something, this is the person to ask. I also found it interesting to ask people’s own opinions.

4. Find election guides online
The internet is full of information, and for every election, someone is bound to make a simple guide for you! I found the BBC website and YouTube were great for this. Short videos and timelines are the best, as they are very clear, and cover the basics of the election. Once you’ve found this and understood it, you could do more research online, depending on your interests.

3. Look at campaigns
I was lucky enough to be in the country where the election was happening – if you are too, just look around you! There will be billboards, posters, TV adverts everywhere. These are created by the parties, and carry their main message or key policies, so they’re clear and simple, plus the differences between the parties should be obvious. If you’re not in the country, do a search online for images and videos of these.

2. Use the news
TV or radio news is perfect for you – when introducing a new story, the newsreader gives a short summary, reminding you what it’s all about. You can even listen to interviews with politicians or experts. I found that it could be a bit fast though – I also tried newspapers, so I could read at my own pace.

1. Take notes
I did a lot of research, and learnt loads so writing down key vocabulary or ideas was vital. I could refer back to it later, to remind myself of things or check facts. It could even be helpful for the next election!

Good luck!


Are you interested in politics? Do you understand how elections work in your country? 


hadia's picture
hadia 25 April, 2015 - 19:52

Well actually i'm not much interested I'm politics but I know how the election system goes on and how it works. I am younger so I can't cast vote for any party but I really support the party to whom my family is voting . Many things I have learnt from this very article but many things I already know even I have tried like when the elections in our country were held I usually noticed the slogans in the hands of people supporting a particular party and also many posters hanging on the street lights and pictures of candidates standing for the elections ions pasted on the wall and of course many tv shows were ' usually talking about the elections in those days and we very keenly and eagerly listened to the discussions and the results about the elections! In short, there's a very different atmosphere all around during election days I really miss those days because now currently there are no elections in our city these days. Well I really liked this article and I am waiting for the year when I would be older enough to cast the vote because I am of small age so I have to wait for some years..........let me keep waiting ;P

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Crystallized's picture
Crystallized 2 April, 2014 - 16:17

No. I am not interested in politics.

I think the adverts for voting are just lame and annoying. I mean just imagine you are watching your favourite TV show. And some shocking plot twist is about to happen. And then BAMF! Political marketing. They've left you there. On a cliffhanger. Just dangling.

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Lejdi's picture
Lejdi 10 October, 2013 - 18:28

I'm really interested in politics because in my opinion politics has the power to change the future of a country for good or bad.

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justcricketforme's picture
justcricketforme 8 October, 2013 - 15:26

Well, politics here in Pakistanis something which children even discuss. Iam intrested in them and O understand how elections work in my country well.

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Harabeli Supersweet's picture
Harabeli Supersweet 4 October, 2013 - 19:02

I'm interested in politics. I have payed attention especially to the last elections in my country. I have never voted, becuse I'm a minor. But I think that politic is important and we must be responsible when we vote, because we have the power to choose the best for our country.

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JoR's picture
JoR 7 October, 2013 - 09:50

I totally agree - we are lucky if we have the opportunity to vote, so we must do it wisely. It's a good idea to pay attention to politics at this stage. I wish I had done so when I was younger, as I might have found it easier to understand politics when I became old enough to vote.

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