Democracy is the kind of government where the people directly or indirectly hold the power to rule and it is facilitated by the system of elections which are deemed to be free and fair. A Democracy has various components which are very influential in ensuring that the government affords the right kind of leadership to the people. These components include such things as free and fair elections, liberty, equality, pluralism, and majority rule among other components (Tannsjo, 126).
Components of a democracy
One of the most important components of a democracy is the institution of free and fair elections. The government needs to be responsible for a higher voter turnout in any election, where an election is one of the strongest features of a democracy. It is deemed as a decision-making process whereby the people of a given society choose through voting an individual or several individuals to ascend to positions of government leadership. In Many democracies, offices such as the legislature, judiciary, and the executive are filled through elections. The governed in a democratic country have the right to various freedoms which include the right to information, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of political expression. Anybody in a democratic country has the right to vie for a particular seat although some seats like the presidential seat have a qualification age. All citizens in a democracy have the right to access all political information which is very instrumental in ensuring that the most popular candidate is elected into a given office. This means that the people are not forced to being led (Tannsjo, 201).
Another important component is liberty which is concerned with various forms of individual freedom that allows an individual to conduct themselves freely so long as they act within the laws of the land. In modern times, it is considered a political philosophy which is exercised highly by democratic countries and it is concerned mainly with the freedom of the people and specifies the condition in which people have the freedom to act according to their own will. This is very instrumental in a democratic setup because the people’s rights and freedoms are protected by the law and the government is mandated to protect and ensure such rights are not undermined without the due process of law (Willard, 39).
Another important component of democracy is equality; this means that all the people in a country or a given society are equal. Equality is in many cases enshrined in the countries constitution. Equality is a very important tool of democracy because all and sundry have equal rights regardless of color, financial status, gender, ideologies, or religion. Therefore everyone is entitled to have a say in the affairs of his/her government without any form of discrimination whatsoever.
In countries where equality lacks there exists a form of discrimination that is targeted towards a certain group of the population. When such instances arise there is always some disquiet from the sectors being discriminated which would likely compromise the democratic ideals. To ensure this does not happen, various rights agencies exist to ensure that the equality of the people is safeguarded against any form of infringement (Putnam, 96).
A democracy affords the citizens institutions that are secular and have no affiliation with any religious body. This means that the country’s institutions are free from any religious influence and this is seen by many experts as a means by which the institutions increase their efficiency and also have a liberal outlook. A democratic setup also affords majority rule in the governing of the country. This means that the electorate participates in policy formulation and has a say about its implementation. One such institution that gives the electorate this mandate is the election commission of any country; it gives the people the opportunity to participate in universal suffrage in deciding the form of leadership makeup. The institutions ensure that the majority of the electorate gets to choose the various elements of governance including policy formulation.
The separation of powers is also another important aspect of a democracy that ensures that there is a separation of powers between the various arms of the government. Most democracies in the world have split the arms of the government with the executive headed by the president or the prime minister, the judiciary is headed by the attorney general, or in some countries the chief justice and the last part being the legislature which is headed by the speaker. An important aspect of these is that the judiciary which should be independent of the influences of the other two arms of the government (Diamond, 145). The separation of powers is important because no arm of the government indulges in any form of excess.
Diamond, Larry, Marc F. Plattner & Philip J. Costopoulos. (2005). World Religions and Democracy. JHU Press.
Putnam, Robert. (2001). Making Democracy Work. Princeton University Press.
Tannsjo, Torbjorn. (2008). Global Democracy: The Case for a World Government. Edinburgh University Press
Willard, Charles Arthur. (1996). Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy. University of Chicago Press.