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Fairer representation in legislatures ......

Problems of First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) System:

  1. Winning in a constituency is the only source of legitimacy in FPTP system.
  2. Broad based Public support is not recognised if a party cannot win in a constituency.

    Local electoral irregularities are encouraged to win at any cost.

    There is incentive to resort to irregularities locally to win as broad public support without winning in a constituency is no use. Conversely, parties have no desire to appeal to broader constituency. Nor is there desire to identify candidates worthy of public office.

  3. The gains in a constituency on account of irregularities are not offset by the risk of losing public support elsewhere.
  4. A high proportion of winning candidates obtain less than 50% vote. (Annexure 10 gives the percentage of votes obtained by winning candidates).
  5. New political groups cannot make an impact in the absence of the capacity to muster money and muscle power.
  6. The system favours entrenched parties and individuals and stifles reform impulses.
  7. The finest citizens are repelled by the ugly electoral practices, and choose to stay away from politics, leaving the field open to the entrenched politicians.
  8. Local dynasties perpetuate family power for generations.
  9. Complete change to proportional representation may lead to weaking of the bond between people and their elected representatives.
  10. In FPTP System, the party with the largest vote may have disproportionate presence in legislature. This may promote majoritarianism stifling dissert or a party which has concentrated presence in a few pockets may fare better than a party with widespread popular base, thus distorting verdicts.

Proposal:

Proportional representation combined with constituency - based election for 50% of the seats.

  1. The overall composition of the legislature will depend on the proportion of votes obtained by the parties.
  2. 50% seats are filled by constituency - election.
  3. There shall be two votes; one for the constituency election and the other for the party of choice.

    Party vote determines the number of seats a party gets. After excluding the constituency seats won by the party, the remain seats will be filled from the party lists.

  4. A State shall be the unit for proportional representation or lists. All union territories together will constitute a unit.
  5. A party shall be eligible for allotment of seats on PR basis only if it obtains at least 10% of the valid votes in States with 10 or more seats. If the number of seats is less, a party shall have to cross a threshold limit as per the formula.

    No. of Valid Votes

    No. of Seats to be filled

  6. As a party or parties are eliminated for obtaining votes below the threshold, the seats shall be divided among the remaining eligible parties as per the following formula:

    (No. of Valid Votes obtained by the party / Total No. of Valid Votes obtained by all eligible parties) X (No. of Seats)

  7. First, each party receives one seat for each whole number resulting from this calculation. The remaining seats are allocated in the descending sequence of decimal fractions.
  8. Any seats which a party has won directly in the constituencies are deducted from this number, so that the balance number to be drawn from the lists is decided.
  9. The existing reservation provisions will continue for the constituencies as well as party lists as per a roster of reservation.
  10. If a party wins more constituency seats than it is entitled to get by proportional representation, it will retain all constituency seats. The additional number will be added to the strength of the legislature on a temporary basis.

(Annexure 11 gives the sample calculation showing distribution of seats in the proposed PR system combined with constituency elections).

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