Capitalist democracy is the form of government in which the powers of the government flow from the citizens to the governors and the running of the government is based on the consent of the electorate.
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Capitalist democracy is a form of government organized in accordance with the principles of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation and majority rule.
MAJOR FEATURES OF CAPITALIST DEMOCRACY
- Periodic elections: Elections are expected to be held periodically and made open, free and fair. It must be made open to all eligible candidates.
- Popular sovereignty: This means that basic governmental decision- making power is vested in all members of the community and not in any particular person or ruling class.
- Political equity: This means that each member of the community or the state has the same opportunity as every other person to participate in the nation’s political decision-process.
- Popular consultation: Leaders should implement only popularly accepted policies and not selfish wishes. That is, government should seek and get what public policies the people would like to be adopted and adapted.
- Freedom of association and groups: There must be existence of more than one political party in a democratic setting within which alternative views can be promoted, and choices made available for the electorates to pick from during elections.
- Respect for the rule of law: It is expected that everybody in the state must be equal before the laws of the land. That is, all recognized human rights must be put under the same law and under the same constitution and also respected by the people and the government.
FACTORS THAT IMPEDE THE SURVIVAL OF DEMOCRACY IN LESS DEVELOPED STATES
Some factors have been seen to be affecting the smooth running of democracy. They are:
- High level of illiteracy: This means that the majority of the people are ignorant of what role they should play and also the roles the government should play in the running of the government and how to influence government decisions.
- High level of poverty: Democracy demands high level of economic independence on the part of the people. Poverty breeds election rigging, buying of votes and people accepting to serve as thugs during election periods to molest political opponents.
- Military dictatorship: Long military rule and its attendant problems distort democracy. Most times, there are cases of inequitable distribution of wealth, a weak press, lack of judicial interdependence and corruption.
- Use of one-party system: Effective democracy calls for more than one political party to canvass for votes. A one-party state restricts positive choices and that is against the principles of democracy.
POLITICAL PARTIES IN CAPITALIST DEMOCRACY
Political parties are formed to be important instruments for the smooth running of a state. A political party is an association of groups or individuals who have agreed to come together under certain national issues (manifesto) which they offer in competition with other groups, with the terminal aim of winning and controlling the machinery of the state.
METHODS OF POLITICAL COMPETITION
- Political campaign: This is one way political parties in a political system sell their manifestoes to the electorate. It also gives opportunity to the people to meet with their future leaders and raise questions on issues not clearly stated. In some cases, campaigns are mounted on radio and television and sometimes by the use of print media.
- Organising debates and conferences: Political parties sometimes arrange different fora or conferences during which they are able to sell their manifestoes, ideologies and candidates to the people.
- Provision of material needs of the people: It is common when elections are approaching to see political parties donating food, water, stoves and other essential needs of the people. This is done to get more people attracted to the party.
- Assisting the electorate on the day of election: On the day of elections, it is common to see vehicles donated by political parties to convey voters to the points of elections or polling booths.
- Provision of party agents: In order to prevent possible rigging of elections, political parties are allowed to nominate their party agents whose duty is to protect the interest of the party. They listen to the announcement of results and watch the counting of votes.
- Integrating people and groups: As part of the effort to win elections, political parties support and in some cases form different groups which are used to promote their interests. Examples are the market women and students.
- What is capitalist democracy?
- List and discuss its major features.
Choose the correct option :
- The need to peacefully change political leaders dictates the adoption of
- A strong political party
- Periodic elections
- The use of opposition parties
- Society ideology.
- The idea of majority rule means that
- a) everybody must be forced to speak on issues
- b) the minority must have their ways accepted
- c) discussions must reflect the issues of the large majority
- d) the minority must be kept away
- Describe the ways in which political parties compete for power through elections.
- Write ten political parties in Nigeria and their logos.