n Journal of African Elections - The causes of political party alliances and coalitions and their effects on national cohesion in India

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



Electoral politics in India has long been considered a challenge for comparative politics; from the distinctiveness of the transition and consolidation of democracy and through the understanding of the way in which the socio-economic complexities of such a heterogeneous society have adapted to and interacted with the institutions of parliamentary politics. Since the 1990s India has experienced the conjunction of a period of complex electoral fractionalisation with considerable and sustained economic growth. This has confounded expectations that the political context that is most conducive to economic development is one of strong and stable government. Rather, the contemporary experience of Indian development has occurred against the backdrop of a dynamic and regionalised party system, with coherence provided by a weakened central executive which has had to limit direct control over economic and social policy. To some extent this has been achieved because of an institutional structure of governance which has responded to the evolution of popular politics, providing a framework of governance which has reflected some of the national diversity and filled some of the power vacuums left unfilled by the fiercely competitive but often corrupt and inefficient party political system. However, a major factor has been the way in which electoral alliances and government coalitions have become an accepted feature of Indian democratic politics, forcing acceptance that compromise, power-sharing, and recognition of diversity are essential elements of successful government.

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