System of Proportional Representation in Legislative Assembly – Essay

The number of votes required, the quota to secure a candidate’s election, is determined, as in the Hare System, by dividing the total number of votes cast by the number of seats to be filled, or by dividing the total number of votes cast by one more than the number of seats to be filled, and then adding one to the result, as suggested by Droop.

Then, the total number of votes polled by each party list is divided by the quota and the result is the number of representatives to which each party is entitled. If all the seats are not filled up, the party which has the largest fractional surplus gets the remaining seat.

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There is another device which may also be followed. The fractional surplus of votes secured by the party in the neighbouring constituency may be added to make up the deficiency in the quota. Let us suppose that the total number of votes cast is 50,000 and five representatives are to be elected from that constituency.

Let us, again, suppose that there are three party lists: the Janata Dal, the Congress, and the Communist (Marxist) and each list has polled 21,500, 20,500 and 8,000 votes respectively.

The quota of eligibility being 10,000 votes, two seats go to the Janata Dal and the Congress. None can go to the Communist (Marxist). One of the two things may happen.

If the fractional surplus method in the constituency is followed, then, the fifth seat may go to the Janata Dal, because their fractional surplus is higher than that of the Congress.

If constituency transferring fractional surplus of vote’s method is followed, then, the votes polled by the Communist (Marxist) party in the neighbouring constituency, say 2,500, are transferred to be added to the total of 8,000, thus, entitling the Communists to claim one seat.

Similarly, the surplus of 1,500 votes secured by the Janata Dal may be added to the votes of the party in another constituency entitling it to an additional seat.

The List System is exceedingly simple, since the voter need only select the party he likes and by selecting it he votes for the entire list of candidates of the party he has selected. But all this amounts to undue importance of the party leaders. The electorate has nothing to choose and decide.

The strict List System has, accordingly, been subjected to a great deal of criticism. Recently some modifications have been offered to it and in a number of countries the voters have been allowed to indicate their own preferences, thus, making a departure from the “bound list.” This system is known as “free list.”

Such a system has recently been adopted in Italy and in certain parts of Australia. Switzerland had previously given considerable freedom to its voters, permitting them to substitute names on the lists. The Swiss system is another variant of the List System. It allows the voter to write on the list of candidates an additional name of his own choice.

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