Critically Analyse the potential benefits and drawbacks of implementing a split voting system, similar to New Zealand’s Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system, in the Indian electoral framework. (250 words)

Ace the UPSC Mains with our Model QA

From Current Affairs Notes for UPSC » Editorials & In-depths » This topic

Split voting, as exemplified by New Zealand’s Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system, allows voters to express diverse political preferences without diluting the impact of their vote. This system has potential implications for the Indian electoral framework.


  • Localised Accountability: Split voting increases the accountability of elected representatives as they cannot merely ride a party wave. They must appeal to their local constituents to secure their electorate vote.
  • Policy Focus: Parties can concentrate on policies and ideologies to garner party votes, rather than focusing solely on individual candidate winnability.
  • Improved Representation: MMP has improved representation for women, indigenous communities, differently abled people, and other deprived groups in New Zealand. This could potentially be replicated in India.
  • Enhanced Democracy: Split voting allows voters to express a diverse range of political preferences without wasting their votes. Every party vote counts towards determining how many seats a party gets.
  • Flexibility: The system provides flexibility, allowing voters to select the best candidate-party combination according to their beliefs.
  • Lower Entry Barrier for Young Politicians: The average age of an MP in New Zealand has considerably declined after the introduction of MMP, indicating a lower entry barrier for young politicians.

However, there are potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Tactical Voting: The MMP system may prompt tactical voting, where voters might support a party that they don’t necessarily endorse just to keep another party out of power.
  • Complexity: The system’s complexity might be challenging for voters to understand, potentially leading to confusion or misinterpretation.

While the split voting system has potential benefits, careful consideration of its drawbacks is necessary. The essence of democracy lies in offering nuanced and diverse choices, and the ability to distinguish between candidate and party signifies a mature democracy.

Learn More

  • Split Voting in Odisha: Odisha’s unique set-up of concurrent Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections demonstrates the electorate’s differentiated political choices. Voters cast both their votes on the same day, but split their voting patterns.
  • MMP System in New Zealand: Under MMP, voters cast two votes: a ‘party vote’ that determines the overall composition of the 120-seat Parliament and an ‘electorate vote’ to elect a local MP for their geographical constituency.
  • Switch Seats: In a switch seat, voters pick a candidate from one party but give their party vote to another, meaning the elected local MP comes from a party that doesn’t secure the majority of party votes.
  • Impact on Indian Electoral Framework: In the Indian electoral framework, compulsive voting often curtails the liberty of voters to express their genuine preference. A split voting system could offer a solution by allowing voters to choose candidates based on merit while ensuring that their party preference determines legislative composition.

Reference: The Hindu – Taking a leaf out of New Zealand’s voting system

Related Posts

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Home Courses Plans Account