Mains Paper 2: Polity | Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: What is first-past-the-post?
Mains level: The topic of the article is much debated issue of these days, among the opposition parties. It is important to know their point of view on the issue.
What is the issue?
- According to some Parliamentarians, “majority aspirations” and the “actual will of the people” is not getting reflected in election results
- The first-past-the-post system had worked well in the beginning because there was one-party domination (of the Congress)
- Earlier, the voting percentage was also very high
- But now because of a division of votes, a party with even a 20% share does not get a single seat
- While a party with a 28% share an get a disproportionately large number of seats
Some examples related to the issue
- In the 2009 elections, the BJP had 18.1% votes but 116 seats in the Lok Sabha
- While, in the previous elections, the Congress got 19.35% votes but only 44 seats
- Parties together polling almost 50% of the votes were totally excluded
- They suggested that recommendations of the Law Commission’s 170th and 255th report should be implemented
- A mix of both first-past-the-post and proportional representation should be tried
- Both the reports had suggested that 25% or 136 more seats should be added to the Lok Sabha and be filled by proportional representation
- A first-past-the-post (abbreviated as FPTP, 1stP, 1PTP or FPP) voting method is one in which voters indicate on a ballot the candidate of their choice, and the candidate who receives most votes wins
- First-past-the-post voting is one of several plurality voting methods
- It is a common, but not universal, feature of electoral systems with single-member electoral divisions; in fact, first-past-the-post voting is widely practiced in close to one third of the world’s countries
- Some notable examples include the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, India and most of the colonies and protectorates either currently or formerly belonging to these countries