Democracy may be defined as a system of government in which all qualified adult citizens vote to elect their representatives. It is popularly defined as government of the people, by the people and for the people.
FACTORS THAT LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN DEMOCRACY
ii) Disintegration of State Authority
iii) Historical writings
iv) The American revolution
TYPES OF DEMOCRACY
1) Direct /Classical Democracy: The right to make political decisions is exercised directly by the whole body of citizens, acting under procedures of major rules.
2) Modern / Representative / Indirect Democracy: Citizens exercise the right to make political decision, not in person but through representatives chosen by and responsible to them.
3) Liberal / Constitutional Democracy: Powers of the majority are exercised within a framework of constitutional restraints designed to guarantee the minority in the enjoyment of certain individual or collective rights.
4) Social or Economic Democracy: It includes social and economic differences, especially differences arising out of unequal distribution of private property.
TWO MAIN TYPES OF DEMOCRACY
1) Direct Democracy: This is where all the citizens attend the Assembly and take part in decision making in order to govern the state or the society.
2) Indirect or Representative Democracy: In this type of democracy, the citizens through election elect those who will represent and govern the state on their behalf.
FEATURES OF DEMOCRACY OR FACTORS THAT MAKE A NATION DEMOCRATIC
i) Regular and periodic elections i.e. elections must be held at regular intervals to elect a new government.
ii) Majority rule in the country, the country should be governed based on majority voice or opinion.
iii) Equality before the law. All citizens should be equal before the law regardless of religion, tribe, race, colour etc.
iv) Respect for the rights of the minority groups. The voice of the minority should also be given consideration in order to have a sense of belongings.
v) Existence of party system. Political party must be allowed to operate and people should be free to join any party of their choice.
vi) Free and fair elections. The elections must be free and fair; it should not be rigged in favour of any group’s interest no matter how highly placed in the country.
vii) Existence of organized opposition to government. Opposition party should be allowed to operate freely and should not be oppressed or silenced.
viii) Equal political rights to vote and be voted for. Every adults citizens in the country who is sane and who have not been convicted of any crime should be allowed to vote and be voted for in an election.
ix) Government actions must be open to public criticism. Government should not be run in secrecy. It actions should be opened for public scrutiny.
x) No intimidation of voters during elections. Adequate security should be provided before, during and after election so that no electorate is victimized or intimidated.
ADVANTAGES / MERITS OF DEMOCRACY
i) Political Participation: Democratic government promotes political participation by its citizens.
ii) Legitimacy: Democracy confers legitimacy on a government because it derives its mandate from the people.
iii) Political Leadership: It affords the citizens opportunity to choose between various choices of political leaders.
iv) Political Stability: A democratic government is more stable because it enjoys popular support and it is accepted by the electorates.
v) Abuse of Power: Democracy prevents abuse of power because there is checks and balances and the term of office is stipulated in the constitution.
PROBLEMS / DEMERITS OF DEMOCRACY
i) Lopsided Representation: Democracy sometimes does not allow for adequate representation of the diverse interest in the country.
ii) Inadequate Political Education: The electorate mostly doesn’t have adequate political education about which choice of candidate or political party to vote for in an election.
iii) Corruption / Manipulation of Election: Due to over ambitiousness of politicians they engage in corruption and manipulate election result by rigging in order to emerge victorious.
iv) Expensive: Democracy gives room for duplication of offices. This makes democracy very expensive to operate.
v) Mediocrity: This type of government give room for mediocrity as the majority will always have their way even when it is not the best choice.
CONDITIONS NECESSARY FOR THE SUCCESS OF DEMOCRACY
i) Economic Development and Equal Opportunities for all. In the absence of economic development and lack of equal opportunities, it may lead to uprising against the government. The downtrodden may revolts, which may lead to the fall of the state.
ii) Literacy and Political Education: Citizens should be given adequate education, this is necessary because education is an ingredient that is essential for taking informed decision.
iii) Efficient and Effective Leadership: This condition will repose more trust in the government.
iv) Open Society: An open society will witness economic development, equality before the law and human right protection.
v) Common Desire by the Citizens: The citizenry must accept and be willing to live a democratic life.
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