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date: 27 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Throughout its history, India has employed first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral rules for nearly all of its legislative elections. Though India uses a relatively common set of electoral rules, three features of India’s FPTP electoral system stand out. First, India’s election constituencies exhibit persistent malapportionment, even after a recent redrawing of constituency boundaries. Second, India mandates representation for historically disadvantaged ethnic groups—and, more recently, women at the local level—by setting aside, or “reserving,” seats in which only members of certain groups may compete for office. Third, political parties often form pre-election alliances in which multiple parties agree not to field candidates against one another. As a result of frequent pre-election alliances, India’s party system exhibits a number of characteristics rarely found in countries using FPTP rules.

Keywords: India, first past the post, malapportionment, quotas, election alliances

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