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French Politico-electoral vs Indian Politico-electoral system

4th July, 2024 International Relations

French Politico-electoral vs Indian Politico-electoral system

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  • The first phase of the French elections was conducted on June 30, after President Emmanuel Macron’s sudden decision to dissolve parliament.

Comparative analysis of the electoral systems and processes between France and India:




Electoral System

France uses a two-round system for legislative and presidential elections. In legislative elections, candidates compete in constituencies in the first round. If no candidate receives an absolute majority (more than 50%), a second round is held between the top two candidates. The candidate with the most votes in the second round wins the seat.

India uses a First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) systemfor both parliamentary (Lok Sabha) and state assembly elections. Candidates contest individual constituencies, and the candidate with the highest number of votes wins the seat, regardless of whether they achieve an absolute majority.

Voting and Representation

France employs a mix of proportional representation and majority system within constituencies. Parties present lists of candidates in multi-member constituencies. Voters cast their votes for a party list, and seats are allocated proportionally based on the party's share of the vote in each constituency. Each party needs to surpass a minimum threshold (5% of the vote nationally) to qualify for seats.

India's FPTP system focuses on individual candidates rather than parties. Voters choose a single candidate in their constituency, and the candidate with the highest number of votes wins the seat, even if they do not receive a majority of votes. This system tends to favour larger parties and can lead to disproportionate representation of smaller parties.

Presidential Elections

French presidential elections are conducted using a two-round system. In the first round, if no candidate receives an absolute majority (50% + 1 vote), a runoff is held between the top two candidates. The candidate with the most votes in the runoff wins the presidency.

India does not have direct presidential elections. The President of India is elected indirectly by an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) and elected members of state legislative assemblies. The candidate who secures a majority of votes from the electoral college becomes the President.

Parliamentary Seats

The French National Assembly (lower house of Parliament) has 577 seats. These include constituencies for mainland France, French overseas territories, and representation for French citizens living abroad. A party or coalition needs to secure 289 seats for an absolute majority.

India's Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) has 543 seats allocated to constituencies across states and union territories based on population. The number of seats per state is determined by population size. States also have legislative assemblies with varying numbers of seats based on population. A party or coalition needs to secure 272 seats for an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.

Coalition Politics

In France, coalition politics are crucial for achieving a majority in the National Assembly or presidential support. Parties form alliances to consolidate votes and gain parliamentary seats. Coalitions may be pre-electoral or post-electoral depending on electoral outcomes.

India has a multi-party system where coalition governments are common due to the diversity of political parties. Major coalitions include the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Coalitions are formed before elections to project a united front and after elections to secure a majority in the Lok Sabha or state assemblies.

Political System

France operates under a semi-presidential system where executive powers are shared between the President (elected separately) and the Prime Minister (appointed from the majority party or coalition in the National Assembly). The President oversees foreign policy, defense, and national security, while the Prime Minister is responsible for domestic policy and day-to-day governance.

India follows a parliamentary system where the President is the ceremonial head of state. The Prime Minister is the head of government and holds executive powers. The Prime Minister is appointed from the majority party or coalition in the Lok Sabha and is responsible for policy formulation and implementation.

Electoral Oversight

Electoral processes in France are overseen by independent authorities to ensure fairness and transparency. The Constitutional Council supervises the conduct of elections, verifies results, and settles electoral disputes. The Ministry of the Interior organizes elections and manages voter registration.

In India, the Election Commission of India (ECI)is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering and overseeing elections to Parliament, state legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President. The ECI conducts free and fair elections, registers political parties, and enforces the model code of conduct during elections.

Note: The Constitution of India allows for a maximum of 550 members in the House, with 530 members representing the States and 20 representing the Union Territories. At present, the Lok Sabha has 543 seats filled by elected representatives.




Q) Compare and contrast the electoral systems and processes of France and India. How do these systems influence political representation, governance, and democratic practices in each country? Discuss with examples and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each electoral system.( 250 )