Difference Between Primary Election and General Election

Core difference

Election is a decision-making process in democratic states by which the nation’s eligible voters choose a candidate for public office. In a political system of government, there are two types of elections that are held after a specific mandate of government. These two are ‘primary election’ and ‘general election’. Both are completely different from each other.

What is the primary election?

The primary election is a mode of election whereby political parties screen their candidates before allowing them to participate in an election for public office. After that, the political parties nominate the candidates for the next general or by-election. This method is very common in the United States. However, in recent years, political parties in Asian countries have also adopted this system. The key benefit of this process is that through this process, political parties get to know the eligibility and credibility of their candidates.

What are general elections?

In the democratic or presidential system, general election refers to the regularly scheduled election by which a country’s voters choose candidates for public office in the national legislature or parliament. In most countries, general elections are held after the expiration of five years of existing government. Through this process, voters elect new members for the next five-year term. At the end of the election, the political party that won the seats by a wide margin established the government alone or with the alliance of the second political party. After that, a new configuration of government is formed from the appointment of the president to the federal ministers.

Key differences
  1. Primary elections are held by any political party in the state to select the candidates for the next general election, while general elections are held to choose the candidate for public office.
  2. The political party decides which candidate will run in the general election, while the state’s eligible voters decide who will hold public office.
  3. In primary elections, two or more than two candidates compete to become nominees in the next general election, while in general elections two or more than two different candidates from different political parties or independent candidates compete against each other to become members of the parliament.
  4. In primary elections, the majority of political party members give their opinion in the party election process, while in general elections, eligible voters as specified by the state election commission, give their opinion in the process. of choice.
  5. Open primaries, closed primaries, semi-open primaries, and runoff primaries are types of primary elections. Local elections and by-elections are, to some extent, a form of general election.

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