Exam focus – Keypoint on Elections, Purposes, advantages and functions of election

Elections: An election is an act of choosing or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a country in the parliament and other positions in the government.
Purposes, advantages and functions of election

  1. Choosing of representatives
  2. Makes rulers accountable
  3. Fosters democracy
  4. Bestows legitimacy
  5. Negates obnoxious policies
  6. For changing of government
  7. Education of the electorate
  8. Used to measure public opinion
  9. Integration of various groups
  10. Used to test the popularity of rulers
  11. Used to check government excesses
  12. People are placed on equal status
  13. Encourages healthy competitions

Disadvantages of election

  • Causes popularity of the people of a country.
  • IT does not make for peace and unity in a country.
  • Elections enthrone political demagogues.
  • A lot of public funds are wasted in conducting elections.
  • Minority groups are not favoured by elections.
  • Elections breeds nepotism, divisionism and ethnocentrism.

Types of elections
There are two types of election: direct and indirect elections

  • Direct Election: This is a method by which citizens of a country who are a qualified voter in an election by casting their votes directly in order to elect those that will represent them either in the legislature or the executive arm of government.
  • Indirect Election: This is a method by which citizens of a country elect their representatives indirectly through the Electoral College

Merits of direct election

  • It gives citizens of a country equality of votes.
  • Elected representatives reflects popular choice.
  • Direct election is more democratic.
  • It is a necessary tool for a representative government.
  • It makes voters know more about their representatives.
  • It gives citizens the opportunity to select their representatives.
  • It makes voters show more interest in government affairs.
  • It is not prone to corruption.
  • It gives the voters the opportunity to select the type of political policies they will be governed with.

Demerits of election

  1. It does not give voters the opportunity to critically scrutinize the candidates before voting.
  2. Many voters involved in a direct election are illiterate who vote blindly.
  3. It encourages violence during polling as a result of the number of people involved.
  4. Majority of the voters are denied the opportunity to vote.
  5. A lot of rigging is involved in a direct election.

Merits of indirect election

  • It gives a few well informed people the opportunity to critically scrutinize the candidates before voting.
  • It is more mature election than the direct election.
  • Candidates elected through it seem more qualified.
  • Indirect election is less violent than direct election.
  • There is little or no opportunity of rigging the indirect election.
  • It raises the quality of legislation and administration in the country.
  • Indirect election is less expensive.

The demerit of indirect election

  • It is prone to corruption.
  • It does not give citizens quality of vote.
  • Voters do not show interest in government affairs.
  • Elected representatives do not reflect popular choice.
  • Indirect election is less democratic.
  • It does not allow voters to know their representatives.
  • The representatives seem to be imposed on the citizens.
  • Government policies are not in line with the choice of the majority of the citizens.

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