But less than 900 million Indians draw from Thursday to vote for a new parliament. Current prime minister Narendra Modi is trying out a new term of five years to enforce, but its majority hangs by a thread.
The elections for the ‘Lok Sabha’, similar to the Chamber of Representatives in Belgium, are a giant company. There are a total of 900 million voters, which is more than the entire population of the European Union, the USA and Australia together. The election commission (ECI) has almost a million polling stations set up.
The whole vote in the largest democracy in the world takes up to five weeks. The elections will be spread over seven phases, between Thursday 11 april and Sunday 19 may. The announcement of the result is on 23 may.
Central to the elections, the position of the current Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. Five years ago he with his hindoenationalistische BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), thanks to a call to change 282 of the 543 seats within. It was for the first time in thirty years that a single party an absolute majority, able to pick up in the Lok Sabha. Together with its alliance partners came to the coalition even on 336 seats.
But the clear majority is now under heavy pressure. Depending on the poll, will be the necessary score of 272 seats narrowly met or narrowly missed by the alliance.
The main opposition to Modi comes from the congress party. That was a party since the independence of India in 1947, but extremely rarely in the opposition get hooked up, but in 2014 was a historically heavy defeat ago. The party fell when, from 206 to 44 seats, an all-time low.
The congress party during the elections once again led by a member of the ‘dynasty’ Nehru-Gandhi. Current party leader Rahul Gandhi is the son of ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the grandson of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and the great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. With the very popular Priyanka Gandhi has in recent months also have a new member of the same family come into the fore.
Furthermore, we might also need to be taken into account with the alliance Mahagathbandhan (‘federal front’). Some of the biggest regional parties of India have joined forces in an attempt sufficient anti-BJP votes to get to the Modes of the majority. In the electorally important state of Uttar Pradesh – good for eighty seats in the Lok Sabha – even the sworn enemies of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in that alliance stepped.
A lot of observers say that the Indian elections turn out to be a referendum about Modi, a polarising politician who is both passionate for – if opponents. The debates run in the first place around the question of whether the prime minister, his election has been able to deliver.
In 2014 was Modi still managed to get many young people to convince with his promise to every year ten million new jobs. But the unemployment rate in the country is today by 6.1 percent to the highest level in 45 years. According to experts, the current growth of the Indian economy (6.6 percent per year) is too low to provide sufficient jobs for the millions of young people to the labour inflows.
Modes get also the accusation that he is the slowdown in growth in the hand has worked with his promised anti-corruption measures. In november 2016, the premier to the two largest banknotes – that of 500 and 1,000 rupee (or 6.4 and 12.8 euro) – to be abolished. That ‘demonetisering’ to a lot of chaos led in India, where cash payment is very important for the economy. Especially smaller companies were hit hard by the measure, which, moreover, little effective proved in the fight against corruption.
The good news for Modi is that the economic problems temporarily overshadowed by the tensions with Pakistan in the disputed border region of Kashmir. With its strong response to an attack that killed forty Indian paramilitaries, he portrayed Modi as a ‘strong’ and nationalist leader. Or that any additional seats will yield, remains to be determined.