For an electoral process to find true value in a democratic set up of a society and deliver on expected terms, it is imperative that the methods through which an election process for a government is held, must be appropriate. Its appropriateness can be judged only when a detailed and fine analysis of the methods is conducted by going through the advantages and disadvantages.
Let us first list down the methods of election process that are performed and learn about the merits and demerits that each carry:
- First Past the Post System :
- In this method, the elections are held for each constituency fixed by the Election Commission and the candidate who gets the maximum number of votes is declared as a winner
- It is a very simple method of election which is very easy to administer
- It is an inexpensive method
- Considering the fact that still not many citizens are literate in the country, it seems to be a very convenient method for the majority of the people
- Since in India, there are multiple parties and some independent candidates too, who compete for the same seat, it is often the case that a majority of the votes are distributed amongst different parties or candidates and finally the one which gets highest amongst them is declared the winner. This may mean that the winning party or candidate may not have won the votes of the majority
- In this system, there is a huge possibility that the voices of the minority section is left unheard, thus reducing the very essence of a true democracy
- Proportional Representation System :
- It is a method in which the seats in the legislature are given in proportion to the amount of votes.
- It works well for a multi-party system such as in India which would give weightage to each party irrespective of their size and the total number of votes won
- The minority voice is not left unheard
- It gives ample space to all the parties new or old, big or small
- Since it provides a government which is not in majority, it results in a coalition government, which implies that there may be chances of a weak coalition
- As stated above regarding the low literacy levels of the majority of the voters in India, this system does not do much justice as it seems like a very complicated system for a simple population
Understanding the complications of the proportional representative system and the very simple nature of the first past the post system, the Law Commission of India recommended the Additional Member System in 1999. It recommended a mix of both the above systems to reap the benefits of both as well get the best possible mixture for an efficient conduct of the electoral process.