separate electorates

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System of election to legislatures which divides voters along the lines of their religion or ethnicity; designed to ensure that each religious or ethnic group can elect their own representatives. Used in India, prior to Independence, to guarantee representation for religious minorities; and in New Zealand, for Maori representation. Separate electorates have been criticized as socially divisive, and for privileging one aspect of social identity above all others.

Subjects: Politics.

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