The Campaign for Electoral Reforms in India (CERI) and Foundation for Advanced Management of Elections (FAME) is organising a national conference here on Saturday to enhance the quality of Indian democracy and governance. Their objective is also to call for urgent reforms in electoral systems, particularly in India.

CERI founder M.C. Raj told presspersons on Friday that India’s electoral system had remained untouched for more than 65 years. On the benefits of Proportional Representation (PR) system over the First Past the Post (FPTP) system, he said the latter was designed mainly for countries with two-party democracies, but many countries that had more than two parties had redesigned and adopted the PR system. This system, he said, could be followed using two methods: one would involve having one candidate chosen by his or her respective party according to its priorities, and this result would be submitted to the Election Commission of India before every election. The other method was to follow the list system, involving an internal election in the party with a list of the names of the candidates with the majority of votes.

“Dalits, Adivasis, religious, ethnic and sexual minorities are excluded from genuine representation and sharing of power. The PR system gives equal representation to parties based on the number of votes they get. Depending on the percentage of votes that a party gets in an election, it will be able to send a larger number of candidates to Parliament.”

Jyothi Raj, Director of Rural Education for Development Society (REDS), mentioned that the main objective was to put pressure on the government to reform the Legislature and to decrease the level of corruption involved in elections.

The former Chief Justice M. Venkatachaliah will inaugurate the conference, which will begin at 9.30 a.m. at Hotel Capitol. N. Gopalaswamy, former Chief Election Commissioner, will give the concluding address, and V.S. Rama Devi, former Governor of Karnataka and former Chief Election Commissioner, will deliver the valedictory address.

‘India’s electoral system has remained untouched for more than 65 years’