By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
On the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, British Prime Minister David Cameron was re-elected, when it became clear his Conservative Party won a majority.
UK elections are different than the USA, since our President is not determined by the number of Democratic or Republican lawmakers in Congress.
See, the USA’s lawmaking Congress is divided into two halves: the 435-member House of Representatives, where states with big populations get more representatives, and the 100-member Senate, with 2 reps per state. Britain’s Parliament is also split into a lower house and upper house. The lower House of Commons has 650 elected members, but the upper House of Lords has about 780 appointed members. It’s then split into the Lords Spiritual, for Church of England officials, and the Lords Temporal, where members are appointed by the Crown or the PM.
If you’ve ever seen a movie scene with British lawmakers shouting at each other, that’s not too far from the truth, since the PM has to survive a weekly yelling match known as Prime Minister’s Questions. This year, the two major contenders up for election were the current PM David Cameron of the Conservative Party and Labor Party leader Edward Miliband. Miliband is hardcore, since he once overthrew his older brother to become Labor leader, but that ruthlessness wasn’t enough to topple Cameron. In fact, Miliband even resigned as the party leader after the loss.
Elections in Europe wouldn’t have been possible without the Allies defeating the Axis powers in World War II, an event celebrated as Victory in Europe Day on May 8.
When Nazi leader Adolph Hitler rose to power in Germany, he began taking over nearby countries like Czechoslovakia. He triggered the start of World War II on September 1,1939 when German forces invaded Poland, causing the allied nations of Britain and France to team up against Germany.
Hitler then joined “Team Evil” with Italy and Japan to form the Axis powers, since they were also big fans of invading neighbors. They fought against the Allies, which included countries like the USA and Soviet Russia.
On June 6, 1944, known as D-Day, the Allies began the largest seaborne invasion in history, to free German-occupied Western Europe. About 150,000 Allied soldiers fought in the Invasion of Normandy, which led to the liberation of France.
By May 8, 1945, the Allies had accepted Nazi Germany’s surrender. An alternate version of events gives credit to Captain America for the defeat of HYDRA and the Red Skull. Now, countries celebrate Victory in Europe Day on May 8 every year, with parades and political speeches.
Britain also recently celebrated the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, daughter of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
While the British monarchy doesn’t have as much power as it used to, they often raise money and awareness for important social issues. Queen Elizabeth II, who is 89 years old, will become the longest reigning monarch on September 9 this year. She was crowned back in 1952, 63 years ago! Prince William is the son of Charles and Princess Diana, who tragically lost her life in a 1997 car accident, and he’s currently second in line to the throne. His son George is third and his younger brother Prince Harry is fourth.
The newborn princess has a very meaningful name. “Charlotte” is the middle name of Kate’s sister Pippa and the female version of grandfather Charles’ name. “Elizabeth” honors great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and “Diana” is from the Prince’s late mother.
Images courtesy of The British Monarchy.