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Type: Journal article
Title: Gross violations of Duverger's law in India
Author: Mayer, P.
Citation: Studies in Indian Politics, 2013; 1(2):179-201
Publisher: Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 2321-0230
2321-7472
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Peter Mayer
Abstract: In his famous study of the impact of electoral regimes on party systems, Duverger suggested that two-party systems are always found to be associated with single-member constituencies where candidates are elected by a plurality of votes (Duverger, 1964). Many studies of what Rae called the political consequences of electoral laws have tended to confirm this well-known electoral ‘law’. A few studies (Betz, 2006; Chhibber and Murali, 2006; Diwakar, 2007, 2010), however, have drawn attention to India’s exceptionalism in terms of party aggregation. This article explores a relatively minor—and thus less-examined but nonetheless puzzling—aspect of Indian exceptionalism: the spectacular failure overall of candidates (and of minor parties) to conform to Duverger’s law. Since 1957, the first national election after States Reorganisation, the average number of candidates standing in Lok Sabha constituencies in all states has tended to rise. In 2004, for example, in all but four states there were more than 10 candidates per constituency in over 90 per cent of constituencies. In this article I explore why neither the mechanical nor the psychological processes commonly understood to be so compelling elsewhere exert significant influence in India. This suggests that there are hitherto unrecognized presuppositions to Duverger’s law.
Keywords: India; elections; Duverger’s law; candidates
Rights: © 2013 Lokniti, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies SAGE Publications
RMID: 0020133674
DOI: 10.1177/2321023013509150
Appears in Collections:Politics publications

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