The Elephant’s Choices

With the results of India's month-long general election set to be announced on May 16, only one outcome is certain: another period of broad coalition rule. That may not be a bad thing, since coalition politics gives representation to the myriad interests that make up a diverse and complex society, and ensures that the country as a whole accepts the policies ultimately adopted.

New Delhi – A month after they first queued to vote in India’s mammoth general election, the country’s voters will learn the outcome on May 16. The election, staggered over five phases – involving five polling days over four weeks, rather than one “election day” – will determine who rules the world’s largest democracy. Only one thing is certain: no single party will win a majority on its own. India is set for more coalition rule.

That may not be a bad thing. India’s last two governments each served a full term and presided over significant economic growth, even though they comprised 23 and 20 parties, respectively. Coalition politics gives representation to the myriad interests that make up a diverse and complex society, and ensures that the country as a whole accepts the policies ultimately adopted.

But coalition rule can also often mean governance of the lowest common denominator, as resistance by any of the government’s significant members to a policy can delay or even thwart it. In India’s parliamentary system, if a coalition loses its majority, the government falls, and keeping allies together can sometimes prove a greater priority than getting things done.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/0OTqLWd;