Here’s How the President is Elected!

9 minute read

We all know that every country has a President. But have you ever thought – how is the President elected? What goes behind these elections? India is going to witness the presidential election in 2022 and all the political parties are ready with their suitable candidates. Let us walk you through the process of these elections!

Who is the President?

Before knowing about how is the President elected, one should know the meaning of the President and their role in the democracy. The President of India is the ceremonial head of state and the commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. Sri Ram Nath Kovind is the 14th and current President of the Republic of India. A President is the first person or the first man of the nation. Although India got independence on 15 August 1947, the office for the Indian President was created on 26 January 1950.

Photo Gallery | Rashtrapati Bhavan
Sri Ram Nath Kovind, 14th and Current President of India
Courtesy: Rashtrapati Bhavan

Under the draft constitution, the President occupies the same position as the King under the English Constitution. He is the head of the state but not of the Executive. He represents the Nation but does not rule the Nation. He is the symbol of the Nation. His place in the administration is that of a ceremonial device on a seal by which the nation’s decisions are made known. — Bhimrao Ambedkar

Qualifications Required to Become a President

Let’s first explore and know about the qualifications that enable a person to be the President of the country before knowing about how is the President elected in India. According to Article 58 (1) of the Indian constitution, the qualifications to become a president of India are mentioned below: 

  • The candidate must be an Indian citizen
  • Must be at least 35 years old
  • Must be eligible to vote in the Lok Sabha
  • Should not occupy any profit-making post under the Government of India, the Government of any State, or any local or other authority subject to the jurisdiction of any of the aforementioned Governments.
  • However, the candidate may be the President, Vice-President, or Governor of any State, or a Minister of the Union or any State, and he or she is eligible to contest the Presidential election.

Who Elects the President?

In India, the President is elected by an electoral college made up of elected:

  • The representatives of the state legislative assemblies (including Puducherry and Delhi).
  • The members of both the houses of the Parliament (MPs)- Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. 

Having said that, Rajya Sabha’s 12 nominated members are not authorized to vote. In a nutshell, the President is elected by 4,120 members of the legislative assembly and 776 members of parliament.

Presidential Election 2017 Highlights: Ram Nath Kovind vs Meira Kumar;  Voting Ends

MLA’s vs MP’S Vote

It is important to remember that the value of an MLA’s vote changes per state to represent the population of each state. To get this figure, divide the total population of the state (1971 census) by the total number of MLAs in the state and multiply by 1,000. According to this estimate, one MLAs’ vote in Delhi is worth 58, 218 in Uttar Pradesh, and only seven in Sikkim. Similarly, the total value of all MLA votes in Delhi is 4,060, 83,824 in Uttar Pradesh, and 224 in Sikkim. This brings the total value of all MLA votes to 5,49,495.

The value of a member of parliament’s vote, on the other hand, is the same in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, which is 708. This is determined by dividing the total number of MLA votes by the number of MPs elected in both chambers. As a result, 5,49,495 divided by 776 equals 708. The total number of votes cast by all elected MLAs and MPs equals the total number of votes cast in the electoral college, which is 10,98,903. 

How is the Voting Done?

Let’s now look into the voting system adopted by India to elect its President of the country. Assume the official ballot has four presidential contenders. Each MLA and MP has now ranked the presidential contenders in order of favour. A candidate must receive more than half of the votes cast to win. If no candidate receives that number of votes based on first preference across all ballots, the preferential system is activated. The contender with the fewest votes is eliminated. The votes cast for this candidate are then reallocated based on the candidate’s next choice. This process is repeated until one candidate obtains or achieves the required majority.

How does India elect its president? An in-depth guide - FYI News
Courtesy: India Today

How is the President Elected?

There is a proper process to elect the President. Let’s have a look at the various steps involved in the process of how is the President elected in India.

Courtesy: Factly

1. Nomination 

The first step in the process of electing the President of India is the nomination. Each contender planning a bid for the post of President of India is required to register their nominations. Candidates are then asked to pay a deposit of Rs 15,000 and submit a signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders. Any of the 4,896 electors eligible to vote in the Presidential election may serve as proposers and seconders. An elector can only propose or second the name of one candidate. The Election Commission approved this regulation of requiring electors to propose and second a candidate’s candidacy in 1974.

2. Voting

The next step in the process of electing the President is voting. All the elected MLAs of the states and union territories of the country are given ballot papers for casting the votes. They cast their votes with the help of special pens given to them. Each ballot paper will have the names of all candidates running in the Presidential election. The electors will next express their preference for each candidate, marking a ‘1’ for the candidate they want as President, a ‘2’ for the candidate they like as a second choice, and so on. An elector is not obligated to vote for all Presidential candidates. The elector needs to mark their first preference for their vote to be counted in the election.

3. Segregation of Ballot Papers 

The next stage in the process of electing the President of India is to validate and count all ballots and begin the counting process with the legitimate ballots. The ballot papers will be collected state by state and assigned to each candidate’s tray based on whose name appears first on the ballot. For example, if a Delhi MLA selects Ram Nath Kovind as his or her first preference, the MLA’s ballot paper will be sent to Kovind’s tray. The ballot papers of the Members of Parliament are then distributed in the same manner.

4. Counting of Votes

Moving ahead with our blog on how is the President elected, the next step in electing the President is counting the votes. The total number of votes received by a Presidential candidate is computed by adding the total value of all ballots on which a certain candidate obtains the first choice. Remember that the worth of each ballot paper is determined by who casts the ballots.

5. Announcing the Winner

After the counting finishes, the next step is initiated which is deciding the winner. Always remember that the winner of the Presidential election is determined not by who receives the most votes, but by who receives more votes than a specified quota. The quota is determined by summing all of the votes cast for each candidate, dividing the total by 2, and adding a 1 to the quotient. The candidate who receives more votes than the quotation is declared the winner. If no one receives more votes than the quota, the contender with the fewest votes is eliminated. The procedure is repeated until someone’s votes exceed the quota, or until only one contender remains after the continuous eliminations, at which time that person is proclaimed the victor of the President of India election. The elected candidate or the President now gets ready for the oath ceremony.

6. Taking the Oath

The next and the final step on the list of how is the President elected is by taking the oath as the President of the country. The Chief Justice of India generally administers the oath of office to the President. To be sworn in, the President-elected takes the following oath:

“I, Ram Nath Kovind, do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of President (or discharge the functions of the President) of India and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the law and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India.”

Courtesy: PIB India

What is the Role of the President? 

Now that we are well-versed with how is the President elected in a democracy like India, let’s dig deeper into some of the important and major roles and responsibilities that the President is entitled to. A President holds an essential role in deciding the future of the country. The key highlights of the roles of the Presiding of India are given below:

  • As a part of the Administrative duty, the President appoints various officials in the country. The officials include Judges of the Supreme and the High court, the Attorney General of India, the Election Commissioner, etc.
  • As a part of the Legislative duty, the President has the authority of summoning a joint session, in case of disagreement/dispute between the two houses of Parliament. Also, a bill becomes an act only when the President gives assent.
  • As a part of the Judicial duty, the President appoints various judges of the Supreme and the High Courts. The President also holds pardoning powers to nullify a death sentence, if a prisoner requests.
  • As a part of the Military duty, the President appoints various officials including, the Chiefs of the Indian Armed Forces, and has the power to declare war or establish peace. 
  • As a part of the Diplomatic duty, the President appoints ambassadors and diplomats in another country.
  • As a part of the Financial duty, the President gives consent to the money bill before its introduction to the Parliament.
  • As a part of the Emergency power, the President can declare a national or financial emergency to secure the country.
Veterans Split Over 'Politicisation of Armed Forces' Letter
Courtesy: The Quint


What is the term of the office of the President?

The President shall serve for a term of 5 years beginning on the date he assumes office. He must, however, continue to hold office despite the expiration of his term until his replacement takes office.

When is the election of the Office of President of India held?

The Election Commission may issue a notification calling for the election of the President on any day within sixty days of the expiration of the outgoing President’s term of office. The election timetable should be set in such a way that the elected President may take office on the day after the outgoing President’s term expires.

Can a Candidate submit more than one nomination paper? What would be the security deposit to be made by such a candidate?

Yes. A candidate may file up to 4 nomination papers. He is, however, only needed to submit one security deposit in this respect.

Where is the poll for election to the Office of President held?

The Election Commission typically designates a room in the Parliament House in New Delhi and a room in the Secretariat building of State Legislative Assemblies in each state, including the NCT of Delhi and the UT of Puducherry, as polling stations.

Is the value of the vote of each MP or MLA the same?

No. The value of MLA votes varies from state to state. However, the value of all MPs’ votes is the same.

So this brings us to the end of the blog on how is the President elected. We hope this information was helpful. For more such informational and interesting reads, stay tuned to Leverage Edu

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