Chapter 3: Election and Representation more votes than all other candidates, is declared elected. The winning candidate need not secure a majority of the votes. This method is called the First Past the Post (FPTP) system. In the electoral race, the candidate who is ahead of others, who crosses the winning post first of all, is the winner. This method is also called the Plurality System. This is the method of election prescribed by the Constitution. Let us now go back to our example. The Congress party won greater share of seats than its share of votes because in many of the constituencies in which its candidates won, they secured less than 50% of the votes. If there are several candidates, the winning candidate often gets much less than 50% of the votes. The votes that go to all the losing candidates go ‘waste’, for those candidates or parties get no seat from those votes. Suppose a party gets only 25 per cent of the votes in every constituency, but everyone else gets even less votes. In that case, the party could win all the seats with only 25 per cent votes or even less. Proportional Representation Let us compare this to how elections take place in Israel that follows a very different system of elections. In Israel once the votes are counted, each party is allotted the share of seats in the parliament in proportion to its share of votes (see Box). Each party fills its quota of seats by picking those many of its nominees from a preference list that has been declared before the elections. This system of elections is called the Proportional Representation (PR) system. In this system a party gets the same proportion of seats as its proportion of votes. In the PR system there could be two variations. In some countries, like Israel or Netherlands, the entire country is treated as one constituency and seats are allocated to each party according to its share of votes in the national election. The other method is when the work?country is divided into several multi-member Indian Constitution at Work constituencies as in Argentina and Portugal. Each party prepares a list of candidates for each constituency, depending on how many have to be elected from that constituency. In both these variations, voters exercise their preference for a party and not a candidate. The seats in a constituency are distributed on the basis of votes polled by a party. Thus, representatives from a constituency, would and do belong to different parties. In India, we have adopted PR system Proportional Representation in Israel Israel follows proportional representation system of election. Elections to the legislature (Knesset) take place every four years. Every party declares a list of its candidates, but voters vote for the party and not for the candidates. A party gets seats in the legislature in proportion to the votes polled by it. This allows even smaller parties with very small support base to get representation in the legislature. (A party must get a minimum of 1.5 per cent votes in order to be eligible to get seats in the legislature.) This often leads to a multi-party coalition government. The following table shows the result of the 2003 elections to the Knesset. Based on this, you can find out what percentage of votes various parties got in that election. Indian Constitution at Work b. Belongs to the party that has highest number of votes in the country c. Has more votes than any other candidate in the constituency d. Attains first position by securing more than 50% votes 5. What is the difference between the system of reservation of constituencies and the system of separate electorate? Why did the Constitution makers reject the latter? 6. Which of the following statements are incorrect? Identify and correct them by substituting, adding or rearranging only one word or phrase. a. FPTP system is followed for all the elections in India. b. Election Commission does not supervise Panchayat and Municipal elections. c. President of India cannot remove an Election Commissioner. d. Appointment of more than one Election Commissioners in the Election Commission is mandatory. 7. Indian electoral system aims at ensuring representation of socially disadvantaged sections. However we are yet to have even 10 per cent women members in our legislatures. What measures would you suggest to improve the situation? 8. Here are some wishes expressed in a conference to discuss a constitution for a new country. Write against each of these whether FPTP or Proportional Representation system is more suited to meet each of these wishes. a. People should clearly know who is their representative so that they can hold him or her personally accountable. b. We have small linguistic minorities who are spread all over the country; we should ensure fair representation to them. c. There should be no discrepancy between votes and seats for different parties. d. People should be able to elect a good candidate even if they do not like his or her political party. 9. A former Chief Election Commissioner joined a political party and contested elections. There are various views on this issue. One view is that a former Election Commissioner is an independent citizen and has a right to join any political party and to contest election. According to the other view, leaving this possibility open

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