India: Two‐Party Contests within a Multiparty System

Anthony Heath, Siana Glouharova and Oliver Heath

in The Politics of Electoral Systems

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199257560
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603280 | DOI:
India: Two‐Party Contests within a Multiparty System

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India is the world’s biggest, and in many respects, most remarkable democracy. Despite vast social and linguistic diversity, its political system has been surprisingly stable and effective. India has a Westminster type parliamentary system with single member plurality elections. In a seemingly major challenge to Duverger’s laws, India has developed a large multiparty system despite its SMP electoral system. Part of the answer is that the extreme multi-party system in the all-India parliament masks the nature of party competition in the electoral districts. Electoral competition can be thought of as a series of different regional level two-party contests.

Keywords: single-member plurality; reserved constituencies; multiparty system; coalition building; Duverger’s law

Chapter.  8666 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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