One Nation One Election: Countries that follow simultaneous elections
1 September, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava
Countries, including the Philippines, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Guyana and Honduras etc. conduct simultaneous presidential and legislative elections within a presidential system of govt.
‘One Nation One Election’ has a historical precedent in India. In 1951-52, the inaugural general election for the Lok Sabha coincided with elections for all State Assemblies. This practice persisted until the general election of 1967. However, it encountered disruption due to the untimely dissolution of certain State Legislative Assemblies in 1968, and the Lok Sabha itself saw a premature dissolution in 1970. Consequently, elections for the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies began to be conducted separately.
The concept of simultaneous elections was initially proposed by former Deputy Prime Minister of India, LK Advani. More recently, this idea gained traction with the endorsement of both the President and the Prime Minister. President Pranab Mukherjee expressed support for it in his address to the joint session of Parliament preceding the budget session. Additionally, reports from the Law Commission and the Parliamentary Standing Committee have also advocated for the adoption of simultaneous elections.
The United States operates under a presidential system of governance, wherein the executive and legislative branches are elected independently. As stipulated by Article II of the U.S. Constitution, the election of the President by the Electoral College is mandated to occur on a single nationwide date. Conversely, Article I allows for flexibility in the timing of Congressional elections. This results in the simultaneous occurrence of presidential and Congressional elections every four years, with the intermediate Congressional elections taking place every two years, commonly referred to as midterm elections.
In Sweden, elections for County Councils and Municipal Councils coincide with the general elections, which take place every four years alongside the Riksdag elections. In contrast, Municipal Assembly elections typically occur on the second Sunday of September every five years.
In Belgium, citizens have the opportunity to participate in five distinct types of elections. Federal Parliament elections are typically conducted every five years, aligning with the timing of European elections, which in turn also impacts regional elections.
The concept of the basic structure doctrine is explicitly evident in the 1949 German Constitution. Germany employs a system in which the Bundestag, or Lower House, cannot dismiss the Chancellor through a simple vote of no-confidence. Instead, a “constructive vote of no confidence” is required, which places restrictions on the removal of the Chancellor. Under this system, opponents must not only express their disagreement with the Chancellor’s governance but also reach a consensus on a suitable replacement.
In South Africa, elections follow a five-year cycle, covering the National Assembly, Provincial Legislature, and Municipal Councils. The electoral system applied for the National and Provincial Assemblies is known as “party-list proportional representation,” where party representation corresponds to their level of electoral support. The total number of votes secured by a party dictates the number of seats it obtains. Parties compile candidate lists for the legislatures they wish to participate in, and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) calculates the allocation of seats for each party-list upon the announcement of results.
The National Assembly comprises four hundred seats, while the size of each of the nine Provincial Legislatures ranges from thirty to ninety seats, depending on the population of the province. Voters cast their ballots separately for the National and Provincial Legislatures, using separate ballot papers.
So we can say that One Nation One Election, in one form or the other, do exist in various parts of the world. Countries like The Philippines, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua et al, follow a system of simultaneous elections. However, these countries follow the Presidential form of Government and the election of President and the elections to the Legislative are held together.
Also Read: Constitutional validity of ‘One Nation One Election’ and what will it take to implement it in India
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