Monday, 20 April 2009

Indians to the polls

The world's largest democracy has started voting. Around 720 million Indians will go to the polls in an election that will take place in five phases. While the first round has already ended, millions will have to wait for their turn until the the beginning or second week of May. 124 constituencies are being contested during the month-long general elections.

The final results are expected on 16 May and a new parliament must be in place by 2 June. The current coalition government, led by the Congress-party and prime minister Singh, is facing one of the biggest challenges in its history, mainly from the opposition BJP-led alliance. Surprisingly, the two main parties are also competing against a "third bloc", mainly consisting of the communist and some regional parties. For now, it is too close to call.
(BBC/CNN, pics: BBC Website)