Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism: The vote for a new parliament in India, by far the world’s largest democracy, ended Wednesday. It took five weeks to conduct, and an estimated 428 million cast their ballots. Once the results are announced on Saturday, the leaders of the two dominant parties — the Indian National Congress, the party of Mohandas K. Gandhi and now led by Sonia Gandhi, and Bharatiya Janata (BHP), a Hindu party that has risen to challenge Congress over the past 20 years — will start scrambling to put together a coalition. Neither is expected to win a majority to form the government on its own, but exit polls show that the Congress Party has a slight lead. A so-called “Third Front,” which is made up of left-wing and regional parties, most prominently the Communist Party, could also be an important factor. All told, there are 1,055 political parties involved in the balloting. Why did this election take so long? Is it an ideological or logistical problem?
India faces uncertain path after election
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