Election is a decision making process in democratic states by which eligible voters of the country chooses a candidate to hold a public office. In a political system of government, there are two kinds of elections held after a specific tenure of government. These two are ‘primary election’ and ‘general election’. Both are entirely different from each other.
Primary election is a mode of election by which political parties scrutinize their candidates before allowing them to contest an election for public office. After that, political parties nominates the candidates for upcoming general or by-election. This method is very common in United States. However, in recent years, political parties of Asian countries have also adopted this system. The key benefit of this process is that through this process, political parties comes to know about the eligibility and credibility of their nominees.
In democratic or presidential system, general election refers to regularly scheduled election by which voters of a country chooses the candidates, to hold a public office of the national legislature or parliament. In most of the countries, general election held after the expiry of five years of existing government. Through this process, new members are chosen by voter for the next term of five years. At the end of the election, political party who won the seats with heavy margin, established the government alone or with the alliance of runner up political party. After that a new setup of government from the designation of president to the federal ministers is formed.
- Primary election is held by any political party of the state to select the nominees for upcoming general election while general election is held to choose the candidate to hold an public office.
- Which candidate will contest in the general election is decided by political party while who will hold the public office is decided by eligible voters of the state.
- In primary election, two or more than two candidates are contesting to become nominee in upcoming general election while in general election two or more than two different candidates from different political parties or independent candidates are contesting with each other to become the member of the parliament.
- In primary election, mostly members of the political party gives opinion in party election process while in general election, eligible voters as specified by the election commission of the state, gives their opinion in election process.
- Open primaries, closed primaries, semi open primaries and runoff primaries are types of primary election. Local election and by-election are to some extent are form of general election.