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Friday, May 24, 2024

India. The largest parliamentary elections in the world will begin on Friday

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The largest parliamentary elections in the world will begin on Friday. Nearly one billion citizens are eligible to vote. The elections are spread over six weeks, of which voting is scheduled for seven days. The favorite in the race is Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Indian People's Party (BJP) and its allies.

The latest opinion polls suggest that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Indian People's Party (BJP) and its allies will win the elections to the lower house of parliament – the Lok Sabha – for the third time in a row. There are 543 seats up for grabs. The House of the People elects the prime minister, who in turn elects his government's ministers. To obtain a majority, at least 272 deputies must be inducted into the chamber.

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi PAP/EPA/RAGUL KRISHNAN

In the previous elections in 2019, the BJP won 303 seats. By forming a coalition of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) with other parties, it won a total of 352 seats.

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The main challenge for the BJP is a coalition of over 20 opposition parties called INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) established in 2023. It is led by the Indian National Congress (INC), the largest opposition party, which won 52 seats in 2019.

Key opposition politicians include INC chairman Mallikarjun Kharge, as well as siblings Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi, children of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

READ MORE: Half the world is going to vote. Will democracy survive this?

Elections in the world's largest democracy

Nearly 970 million people are eligible to vote in India this year. This means that the “largest democracy in the world” will once again break its own record. In the 2019 elections, 900 million registered voters and the turnout was 67 percent, meaning that 615 million people voted in one election.

With a population of almost 1.4 billion people and an area of ​​over 3 million square kilometers – about six times the size of France – organizing nationwide elections in one day is not possible for logistical and security reasons.

Therefore, the elections in 28 Indian states and eight union territories are extended for 44 days, of which voting is scheduled for seven days – they will be held on April 19 and 26, May 7, 13, 20 and 25 and June 1. The elections are divided into seven stages depending on the geographical location and population of each region. In total, there will be about one million polling stations with voting machines.

The general elections in India will last for seven daysPAP/EPA/RAGUL KRISHNAN

According to the ordinance, the state is obliged to ensure that every person entitled to vote has access to a polling station located at a maximum distance of 2 km from their place of residence. This means that 11 million Indian election workers will go out into the field to ensure that every citizen can cast a vote. According to the Indian news agency PTJ, this year officials will travel 39 km to the village of Malogam, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in north-eastern India, so that the only resident of this village can exercise the right to vote.

Indian citizens who are over 18 years of age and are on the electoral register are eligible to vote. They must also have a valid ID. It is estimated that around 13.4 million Indian citizens live outside the country. To cast a vote, they must register in the system and be present in India during the elections.

Each of the 543 members of the House of the People is elected for a five-year term and represents one constituency, and the winner is the candidate with the most votes.

Women in parliament

In 2023, India adopted a law that had been worked on for over a quarter of a century, granting women 33 percent. seats in each house of parliament. In the case of the People's Chamber, it is 181 seats. In 2019, women won 15 percent. places. It is estimated that the intended goal will not be achieved in the elections starting on Friday.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/RAGUL KRISHNAN



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