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PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SIMPLIFIER



  Jun 14, 2024

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION SIMPLIFIER



WHAT IS PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION?

Proportional Representation (PR) is an electoral system where parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for them. Unlike the First Past the Post (FPTP) system, where the candidate with the most votes in a constituency wins, PR ensures that political representation is more closely aligned with the overall vote share of each party.

COUNTRIES USING PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

Countries that follow PR include:

• Presidential Democracies: Brazil, Argentina
• Parliamentary Democracies: South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain
• Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR): Germany, New Zealand

WILL PR WORK IN INDIA?

Implementing PR in a large and diverse country like India has its challenges and potential benefits:

• Advantages: It would provide fairer representation for smaller parties and reduce the discrepancy between vote share and seats won.
• Challenges: PR could lead to political instability as it may become harder for any single party to gain a majority. It might also encourage the formation of more parties based on regional, caste, religious, and linguistic lines, although the current FPTP system hasn’t prevented this either.

WHAT IS MIXED MEMBER PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION?

Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) combines elements of FPTP and PR:

• FPTP Component: Some candidates are elected through the FPTP system from territorial constituencies.
• PR Component: Additional seats are allocated to parties based on their overall vote share.

Example: Germany’s MMPR System

• 50% of seats are filled through FPTP.
• The other 50% are allocated based on party vote share, ensuring proportional representation.

Example: New Zealand’s MMPR System

• 60% of seats are filled through FPTP.
• 40% are allocated based on party vote share, ensuring a balance between local representation and proportionality.

WAY FORWARD FOR INDIA

The Law Commission of India, in its 170th report, recommended experimenting with MMPR:

• Proposal: Introduce MMPR by filling 25% of Lok Sabha seats through PR, by increasing the total number of seats.
• Implementation: Apply PR at the State/UT level to respect India’s federal structure.

CONCLUSION

Implementing PR or MMPR could provide more equitable representation in India’s diverse political landscape. While the FPTP system ensures simplicity and stability, exploring a mixed system might balance representation and stability, addressing regional and political disparities.



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