By constitutional requirement, elections to the Lok Sabha (lower house of the parliament of India) must be held every five years, or whenever Parliament is dissolved by the President of India. The previous election to the 14th Lok Sabha was conducted in May 2004 and its term would have naturally expired on 1 June 2009. Elections are organized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and are normally held in multiple phases to better handle the large electoral base and its security concerns. The 2009 elections were held in five phases. In February 2009, Rs.1,120 Crores (€176 million) was budgeted for election expenses by the Indian Parliament.
The average election turnout over all 5 phases was around 59.7%. The results of the election were announced within three days of phase five, on 16 May 2009, following the first past the post system.