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CBSE Notes | Class 11 | Political Science | Indian Constitution at Work
Chapter 3 - Election and Representation

The chapter introduces students to the interesting aspect of democracy: elections. This chapter talks about the types of elections and the methods of elections performed at various levels of democracy. The chapter also creates a distinction between the FPTP and the proportional representation system of elections. We also highlight various political bodies like the election commission, delimitation commission and in-depth discussion on the electoral reforms.

Introduction


India is a constitutional democracy with a parliamentary system of government, and at the heart of the system is a commitment to hold regular, free and fair elections.

These elections determine the composition of the government, the membership of the two houses of parliament, the state and union territory legislative assemblies, and the Presidency and vice-presidency.

Elections in India are events involving political mobilization and organizational complexity on an amazing scale.



What is “First Past the Post”?


The ‘First-Past –The-Post’ is an electoral system that is also known as a simple majority system. In this system, the candidate with the highest number of votes is the winner. This system is followed in India for the direct election to the ‘Lok Sabha’ and ‘State Legislative Assemblies.

FPTP is a system in which, the entire country is divided into 543 constituencies:


  • Each constituency elects one representative

  • The candidate who secures the highest number of votes in that constituency is declared elected.

  • It is important to note that in this system whoever has 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.

  • This method is also called the Plurality System.



What is Proportional Representation?


Each party fills its quota of seats by picking many of its nominees from a preference list that has been declared before the elections.

In this system, a party gets the same proportion of seats as its proportion of votes



What type of election system is followed in India?


In India, we have adopted a PR system on a limited scale for indirect elections. The Constitution prescribes a third and complex variation of the PR system for the election of President, Vice President, and for the election to the Rajya Sabha and Vidhan Parishads.

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Comparison of FPTP and PR System of Election



FPTP - First Past The Post 


  • The country is divided into small geographical units called constituencies or districts. Every Constituency elects one representative.

  • Voter votes for a candidate

  • A party may get more seats than votes in the legislature.

  • A candidate who wins the election may not get the majority E.g-U.K and India



Proportional Representation (PR)


Large geographical areas are demarcated as constituencies. The entire country may be a single constituency. More than one representative may be elected from one constituency

In this system, a voter votes for the party every party gets seats in the legislature in proportion to the percentage of votes that it gets

A candidate who wins the elections gets the majority of the votes. Examples: Israel, Netherlands