Indirect Election | Definition, Features, Merits and Demerits

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Indirect Election | Definition, Features, Characteristics | Advantages and Disadvantages

Indirect Election
Indirect Election

What is an Election?

An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. – Wikipedia

What is Indirect Election?

Indirect election is the method by which the representatives are elected in two or more stages. In the first stage, the voters elect an intermediate body of able and responsible people. This body is known as an electoral college. At the second stage, the electoral college select the representatives of the people.

The constitution of the United States of America, for example, provides that an electoral college should choose the president of the country. In some countries like Germany, Italy, India and Nigeria, the major political parties usually elect their leaders and representatives through indirect election or primaries.

Features of Indirect Election

The characteristics and features of indirect election include the following:

  1. Indirect election is based on the assumption that many people are not capable of making the proper choice.
  2. An indirect election usually includes a primary election before the general election.
  3. It may involve two or more stages.
  4. It is the electoral college that makes the actual selection of candidates.
  5. Indirect Election is often used in large countries or in political parties with a large membership.

Direct Election | Definition, Features, Pros & Cons

Advantages of Indirect Election

Indirect election is advantageous in the following ways;

  1. It may lead to the election of candidates with the best leadership qualities.
  2. In a society where the people are predominantly illiterate, the system is useful for making the perfect choice.
  3. Indirect election produce less violent than direct election.
  4. Members of the electoral college have the opportunity of examining the candidates before the voting.
  5. The cost of running an election is relatively cheap. Indirect election is not as costly as direct election.
  6. The opportunity of rigging an election is partially absent. It may or may not be there.
  7. It encourages corporation, compromise and princesses in politics.
  8. The legislator form an electoral college in indirect election. The possible advantage is that members of the college are seen as best qualified to elect leaders.

Disadvantages of Indirect Election

The disadvantages of indirect election include the following:

  1. Indirect election may not allow the will of the people to prevail. As such, it is largely on undemocratic. Indirect system of election does not directly involved electorate in the final choice of their representatives.
  2. The indirect election system conflicts with the purpose and primary aim of representative government that the people should elect the leaders of their choice.
  3. The electoral college is usually prone to bribery and corruption and may therefore not truly represent the interests of the mass.
  4. It may be too complex to operate.
  5. Indirect election prevent the emergence of an enabling environment for cultivating public spirit among the people.
  6. In modern times, the development of the party system has reduced electoral college to a mere formal contraptions. In the United States, for example, the actual choice of the president is made by the electorate voting by States and not by any electoral college.
  7. The system is prone to manipulation by political leaders and bosses to improve their own candidates on the electorate and manipulation of delegates.
  8. Indirect election system does not offer a wider political participation in the state. It is absolutely no room for wider political participation.
  9. The people may be apathetic to vote and subsequent elections.
  10. The final political office holders voted in by the representatives seem to be an imposition on the people.
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