People live and interact together in a society. However, there is a need for orderliness; everyone cannot be the leader. There is a need for a leader to coordinate and manage the affairs of the masses. There are several systems of governance; it depends on the caliber and civility of the people in the community. In some places, the elites coordinate the affairs of the community; while in orders, the king and the noble decide for the community, irrespective of the plight of the masses, once it appeases them, it becomes a law.
One of the fairest and most humane systems of government is the democratic system of government.
Democratic system of government is the system that allows the citizens to express their franchise without any menace in selecting leaders at any level of governance. This system empowers the citizens with the right to exercise their civic right directly or elect representatives amongst themselves to climb the leadership mantle. It is called the rule of the majority.
Democratic system of government consists of four major elements; these are what actually define the system. They are:
- The ability to choose and replace an existing government through a free and fair election.
- The ability of all and sundry to actively participate in politics and civic activities.
- The protection of human right against any form of oppression and immorality.
- The implementation of the rule of law, such that no one outgrows the wrath of the law.
The democratic system of government disperses power amongst all citizens. It sternly abhors a situation where power belies an individual or group of people as seen in monarchy and oligarchy respectively.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
It is imperative to discuss the characteristics of democratic system of government. This assists to understand the present state and probably the mode of living and culture of the country. There are three basic characteristics that identify democratic system of government; they are:
- Legal equity.
- Political freedom.
- Rule of law.
These characteristics are expressed by all citizens of any country adopting a democratic system of government.
The legal equality affirms the fact that everyone in the country has equal right under the law; irrespective of the social status or family background; when anyone errs, he or she is brought to book. Everyone is subjected to the same law of justice; everyone is treated equally under the same law, irrespective of the race, gender, color, ethnicity, religion or family background. They are all equal in the eye of the law.
Political freedom emphasizes the right of every citizen to actively participate in electoral processes. In it there is not coercion or oppression; everyone has the right to express their franchise limitlessly.
Lastly, the rule of law shows the supremacy and sovereignty of the law above anyone in the country. It checkmates any excessive or extravagant citizen; it controls the affairs of the country and her citizens. It constrains freedom and how it is expressed in the society; this checks and balances the affairs of all citizens. Individual has the right to follow and express their whims as long as it is not prohibited under the standing law.
The rule of law simply implies that everyone is equal and subject to the law. With it, the country is secure and free from malfeasances.
FORMS OF DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
There are two forms of democratic system of government; they are:
- Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of democracy where the citizens participate actively in the decision making of the nation. This system allows the citizens to change the constitutional laws if found antagonistic. Also, citizens have the chance to put forth progressive initiatives, binding laws, referendums and suggestions for laws. This form of democratic government is currently practiced in Switzerland.
Representative democracy is a form of democratic system of government that involves the election of government officials by the citizens. The elected government official shares the same whims as the citizens; they speak for the citizens at various level of governance. Election is usually conducted to choose a representative. There are two types of representative democracy; they are:
- Parliamentary democracy
- Presidential democracy
Parliamentary democracy is a type of representative democracy where the representative has the power to appoint and as well dismiss the existing government. Under the parliamentary democracy, the government is subservient to the representative. The government is subject to reviews, checks and balances by the legislative parliament elected by the people. The head of the government under this system is the prime minister. The prime minister can be dismissed at any point in time, when the parliament feels his or her performance is woeful. Countries that adopt this system are: Germany, Spain, Italy and UK.
The presidential democracy is a form of representative democracy where the citizens elect a president through a free and fair election. The president-elect is the head of all affairs in the country; in him or her, supreme power and authority are vested according to the law. The president serves for a stipulated time after which a new election is conducted to appoint a new president. The president appoints the cabinet members to enhance the success of the government; the president has direct control over the cabinet members, he or she can dismiss any cabinet member if found guilty of any misconduct. The presidential democracy is practiced in countries like: Nigeria, USA, France etc.
Democracy seems to be the most humane system of government that caters for the affair of the masses. Unlike other systems of government, where the plight of the majority is not considered. Democratic system of government is the government of the majority; where everyone, both old and young, rich and poor, are seen equal in the eye of the law.