US election 2020: How American election is different from Indian election

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Oct 15, 2020, 05:03 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( AFP )

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There are actually only a few similarities between the organization of the government in the two biggest functioning democracies around the world. Elections in the USA are therefore not quite the same as elections in India. 

On Tuesday, November 3, The United States of America (USA) will vote for its next President. The US election, held once every four years, takes place on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November, as spelled out in the US Constitution. 

Irrespective of who wins the American presidential race, there’s a good chance India will continue to remain important for the US.

There are actually only a few similarities between the organization of the government in the two biggest functioning democracies around the world. Elections in the USA are therefore not quite the same as elections in India. 

Here are the main differences between Indian and American elections:

Presidential and Parliamentary form of Government

United States follows the presidential form of the Government and India follows the parliamentary form.

In a presidential system, the central principle is that the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government are separate. This leads to the separate election of president, who is elected to office for a fixed term, and only removable for gross misdemeanor by impeachment and dismissal.US citizens technically vote for “electors” and not the presidential candidates themselves, who subsequently elect the President. 

In the US presidential system, the President is both the chief executive of the government and the head of state. 

India follows the parliamentary system of government. Indian Parliament is a bicameral legislature composed of the President of India and the two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President in his role as head of legislature has full powers to summon and prorogue either house of Parliament or to dissolve Lok Sabha.

India’s parliamentary system does not allow citizens to directly choose the head of the government.In India the Head of state is different from the Head of the government.

Political parties:

The United States has two prominent parties that have the most power the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, both of which are built on a specific ideology. Although the Libertarian Party, Green Party, and other smaller parties exist in US but they are as big as the two major ones.

India, however, has many parties that operate on the different regional level. The two major political parties of India are the Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress apart from these two, India is riddled with countless other regional parties which often differs from one state to the other.

Electoral system

According to the US government website, In the US Electoral College system, each state gets a certain number of electors based on its total number of representatives in Congress. Each elector casts one electoral vote following the general election; there are a total of 538 electoral votes. The candidate that gets more than half (270) wins the election.

Members of Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the lower house of India's Parliament are elected by being voted upon by all adult citizens of India, from a set of candidates who stand in their respective constituencies. The MPs of the party or alliance with majority seats choose their leader as the head of the government, who becomes Prime Minister of India. 

Voting system 

US uses ballot to cast votes and India uses EVM machines for voting.

There is one major disadvantage of the Indian election system is that the people don’t have the choice to elect their Head of State directly.

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