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
- Choosing of representatives
- Makes rulers accountable
- Fosters democracy
- Bestows legitimacy
- Negates obnoxious policies
- For changing of government
- Education of the electorate
- Used to measure public opinion
- Integration of various groups
- Used to test the popularity of rulers
- Used to check government excesses
- People are placed on equal status
- 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
- It does not give voters the opportunity to critically scrutinize the candidates before voting.
- Many voters involved in a direct election are illiterate who vote blindly.
- It encourages violence during polling as a result of the number of people involved.
- Majority of the voters are denied the opportunity to vote.
- 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.