What is Democracy?
Democracy is a system of government in which power is vested in the people, either directly or through elected representatives. It is a form of governance where citizens participate in decision-making processes, have the right to vote, and have the ability to shape the policies and laws that govern them.
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In a democratic system, the government is accountable to the people, and the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals are protected. Key principles of democracy include political equality, popular sovereignty, majority rule, minority rights, and the rule of law.
In a direct democracy, citizens have the opportunity to participate directly in decision-making through initiatives, referendums, and assemblies. However, direct democracy is often impractical in large-scale societies, so most democracies today operate as representative democracies. In a representative democracy, citizens elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf and to govern the country.
Democracy promotes the idea of pluralism, where different viewpoints, interests, and political parties coexist and compete peacefully. It provides a platform for open debate, protects freedom of speech and expression, and encourages civic engagement. Through regular elections, citizens have the opportunity to choose their leaders and hold them accountable for their actions.
While there are variations in democratic practices around the world, the core principles of democracy emphasize the importance of participation, equality, accountability, and protection of individual rights.
Democracy can be defined as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people in ordinary terms. Democracy has been defined by various philosophers and writers in different ways e.g. Aristotle’s definition of democracy, It is the rule of the mob and condemns it.
See Lay defined it as a government in which everyone has a share.
In short, democracy is that form of government in which sovereignty remains in the hands of the entire nation, which can make and unmake the government.
Types of Democracy
Following are two types of democracy
1. Direct Democracy
Under this system the people take direct in the affairs of the state. The people themselves are the rulers and they are the ruled at the same time. They themselves make the laws, enforce them and decide cases according to these laws. Such a democracy existed in City States of ancient Greece and Rome. Some practices of direct democracy are still observed in Switzerland and in some states of the USA.
2. Indirect or Representative Democracy
After the creation of large nation states, it became impossible for all the people directly to participate in the affairs of the state. Under this form of government the people elect a small number of representatives or delegation and give them the authority to run the government. Since the people rule through these representatives, we give the system the name of indirect or representative democracy. Today in almost all the countries of the world there is indirect or representative democracy.
Features Of Democracy
- Periodic election.
- Political parties
- Free association and groups
- Secret ballot.
- Independent National Electoral Commission.
- Pressure groups
- Political parties
- Arms of government
Pillars Of Democracy
- The People
- Democratic Institutions
- Rule of Law
- Transparent Electoral Processes
- Majority Rule and Minority Rights