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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Shifting to Proportional Representation

Syllabus - Polity [GS Paper-2]

Context

There is a growing consensus among a broad cross-section of citizens and political parties in India that the current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) electoral system must be replaced with proportional representation.

About

  • FPTP is a simple electoral system used in many nations, together with the USA, Canada, the UK, and India. 
  • In this gadget, the candidate who receives the most votes in a constituency or district wins the seat, regardless of whether or not they have got an absolute majority (more than 50% of the votes).

Features of the FPTP

  • Voting: Each voter casts one vote for their preferred candidate.
    • They choose from a list of candidates, usually representing distinctive political parties or independent applicants.
  • Counting Votes: After balloting closes, the votes are counted, and the candidate with the maximum votes is said the winner.
    • There is no requirement for the winning candidate to get hold of more than 50% of the total votes cast.
  • Winner Takes All: The candidate who wins the most votes in a constituency or district is awarded the seat, and the other applicants receive nothing, although they have a total share of the vote.

Significance

  • The FPTP system is simple and the maximum byble technique in a big country like India. 
  • FPTP affords more stability to the executive in parliamentary democracy because the ruling party/coalition can enjoy a majority in the Lok Sabha/Legislative meeting without acquiring a majority of the votes (more than 50%) throughout constituencies.

Criticism

  • One common complaint is that it is able to cause disproportionate representation, where parties with significant overall support may not win a proportionate number of seats.
  • It might also bring about over or under representation of political parties when compared to their vote share. 
  • It also discourages smaller events or independent candidates from taking part, as they will struggle to win seats under this system.
  • Elected representatives tend to pay more attention to those who voted for them. 
  • The consultant is regularly forced to bask in vote-bank, competitive politics or sectoral politics to stay famous and ensure re-election in the subsequent spherical. 

Proportional Representation (PR)

  • It is an electoral system where the distribution of seats in a legislative frame is closely aligned with the share of votes obtained by every participating political party or organization.
  • Unlike First Past the Post (FPTP), wherein the candidate with the maximum votes in every constituency wins, PR pursuits to ensure that the general composition of the legislative frame displays the general distribution of voter choices.
  • There are diverse types of proportional representation systems:
    • Party List PR: In this gadget, citizens cast their vote for a political party in preference to a selected candidate.
      • Seats are then allocated to parties in proportion to the overall number of votes every party gets. 
      • Parties offer a ranked list of applicants, and seats are stuffed primarily based on the order of applicants on the listing.
    • Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP): This system combines factors of both FPTP and PR.
    • Voters cast votes: one for a candidate of their nearby constituency and one for a political party. 
      • Some seats are filled by the winners of the local constituency races, at the same time as more seats are allocated to events to make certain proportionality based on the overall party vote.
    • Single Transferable Vote (STV): In STV, citizens rank candidates in order of desire in multi member constituencies.
      • Candidates are elected based on achieving a certain quota of votes, with surplus votes from elected candidates and votes from removed applicants being redistributed until all seats are crammed.
    • Mixed-Member Majoritarian (MMM): This system combines FPTP with more proportional seats.
      • A part of seats are crammed by FPTP, even as additional seats are allocated to events to make certain proportionality based on the overall party vote.

Significance

  • Proportional representation systems aim to offer fairer representation for a broader range of political viewpoints, reduce wasted votes, and encourage voter turnout. 

Criticism

  • The principal criticism against the PR system is that it can doubtlessly bring about instability as no party/coalition may additionally achieve a majority to form the authorities in our parliamentary democracy. 
  • Some specialists assert that the PR system slows down selection-making, ensuing in the weakening of the government itself. 
  • It is byble that excessive pluralism can permit tiny minority events to preserve large parties to ransom in coalition negotiations. The inclusiveness of the PR system is therefore referred to as a drawback.  
  • The PR system may additionally reduce responsibility to the electorate because an ousted party of the government can nonetheless stay in office by locating new coalition partners after an election.
  • Under a PR system, it could be difficult to remove a reasonably sized centre party from power. 

Way Ahead

  • The discrepancies and related flaws of the FPTP may be decreased, if not removed, to make India’s democratic system more responsive and reflective of the needs of the people. 
  • There is a consensus amongst supporters of democracy that the ruling party and the opposition are equally giant for the sustainability and functioning of a democratic system.
  • Because of the FPTP electoral system, the opposition has been removed or decreased to a minimum numerous instances within the past, for instance in 1984, 2014, and in the first three preferred elections held after Independence. 
  • The regulation commission in its 170th report, ‘Reform of the electoral legal guidelines’ (1999), had encouraged the creation of the MMPR system on an experimental basis. 
  • It had cautioned that 25% of seats may be crammed by a PR gadget by increasing the power of the Lok Sabha.

Source: The Hindu

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in the light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct. (2022)

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