Die 11. Nationalwahlen in Indien 1996: Zäsur im politischen System und Indikator der gesellschaftlichen Transformation

  • Citha D. Maaß (Autor/in)

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The recent Lok Sabha elections in India can be described in terms of stability and break. On the one hand the elections are proof of the stability of India's democratic system, on the other they can be seen as a break in the traditional balance of power with Congress as the dominant party since independence. The realignment of political forces is clearly reflected in the distribution of seats among the main political contenders constituting a socalled "hung" parliament: The Bharatiya Janata Party, now the biggest party in the Lok Sabha, bagged 161 seats whereas Congress won only 140 seats, 92 less than in 1991. The combined National Front/Left Front secured 111 mandates. Thus, the new political situation is rather uncertain. None of these parties command a clear majority in the Lok Sabha (543 seats), no clear division of power between two national parties has evolved so far. The present coalition government with 14 different parties relies on the tacit support of the Congress opposition. Due to this delicate power equation the room for political and economic changes is very limited. The outcome of the election reflects the heterogeneity and ongoing social transformation of Indian society.