Definition of Election
Election is an exercise by which voters choose their representatives to hold public office. It is the primary activity in forming democratic and representative government. Election enables the voters to participate in the political activities of the state and exercise their political rights.
The term election is derived from Latin word “eligere” which means to choose or to pick out or to select. Election is the process by which modern representation democracy has been operating since 17th century as a formal mechanism of selecting or rejecting a person for public offices. Voting was used in ancient Greece and Rome to select Greece and Rome to select Roman emperors and holy popes.
Political parties play a significant and decisive role in the election. The voters by exercising their franchise elect political party of their choice to form democratic government. The government elected as such is called “popular government”.
Types of Election
Election enables people to be conscious of their rights and duties and stimulates interest in public affairs and develops public spirit. In a democratic political process elections are held regularly. There are different types of elections like – General Election, Mid-Term election, Re-election and By-election.
1. General Election
General election is held periodically once in five years where all the eligible voters on the basis of universal adult franchise exercise their voting rights in the election. The term of 16th Lok Sabha spans from 2014-2019.
2. Mid-Term Election
Mid-term election is conducted when the House is dissolved before the completion of its term. Such a situation arises when the ruling party fails to win the vote of No Confidence and when no political party is in a position to prove its majority on the floor of the House
Re-election is held when elections are countermanded due to irregularities like booth capturing, rigging, threatening and bribing voters and polling staff. These incidents may occur in a particular booth or polling station or in the entire constituency.
By-election is held generally to fill the vacancy arising due to the death or resignation or disqualification of an election member.
Importance of Election
Below the importance of election are given –
- Election is the foundation of democratic government.
- Election is the key component to provide justice and freedom to all without any discrimination.
- It is designed to create a popular government.
- It gives a citizen an opportunity to have one’s voice heard and a choice by which one should be governed. This enhances the self respect and dignity of citizens to realize their importance in forming the government.
- Election is the Barometer of democracy and serves as forum for the discussion of public issues and facilitates the expression of public opinion.
- It imparts political education and training to voters to actively participate in the activities of the nation.
- Election protects the interests of the minorities by providing representation in the legislature.
- Election reinforces the stability and legitimacy of the political community by bringing together citizens of the nation and helps to facilitate socio-political integration.
- It makes the representatives to be accountable for their performance in office and conduct.
- It contributes to the constitution of democratic government and enables the peaceful transfer of power.
Prof. Willoughby rightly puts it, “In a popular government of the representative type, the electoral branch may be viewed as the foundation upon which the whole structure of government is erected.”
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