How does Democracy produce an Accountable, Responsive and Legitimate Government?
Democracy, literally meaning “rule by the people,” allows individuals to exercise political control over the form and functions of their government. While democracies take several forms, all are characterized by competitive elections, freedom of expression, and protection of individual civil liberties and human rights. In most democracies, the needs and wants of the people are represented by elected legislators who are charged with writing and voting on laws and setting policy. In creating laws and policies, elected representatives in a democracy try to balance conflicting demands and obligations to maximize freedom and protect individual rights.
Democracy formulates Accountable Government
- Governmental accountability means that public officials – elected and unelected – have a duty to explain their decisions and actions to citizens. Government accountability is achieved through the use of various mechanisms – political, legal, and administrative – designed to prevent corruption and ensure that public officials remain accountable and accessible to the people they serve. Without such mechanisms, corruption can flourish.
- The primary mechanism of political accountability is free and fair elections. Fixed terms and elections hold elected officials accountable for their performance and provide challengers with an opportunity to offer citizens alternative political options. If the voters are not satisfied with the performance of the official, they can remove him after the mandate expires.
- The degree to which public officials are politically accountable depends on whether they hold an elected or appointed position, how often they are re-elected, and how many terms they can serve.
- Mechanisms of legal accountability include constitutions, legislative acts, ordinances, rules, codes, and other legal instruments that prohibit the actions that public officials can and cannot take and how citizens can take action against those officials whose conduct is deemed unsatisfactory.
Democracy formulates Responsible/Responsive Government
- Democracy produces responsible government because the people have the right to choose their representatives through the electoral process.
- Democracy creates a pillar in which the government is responsible for meeting the needs of the people. Decision-making requires discussions and debates, thereby reducing the possibility of irresponsible actions.
- In addition, it produces and institutionalizes various branches that work within its jurisdiction.
- These intertwined responsibilities are shared between citizens, government, and its institutional bodies.
Democracy Formulate Legitimacy Government
- Democracy produces legitimate government. The word “legitimacy” describes the extent of confirmation that rulers have received from the people they rule. Legitimacy is a multifaceted concept, which is therefore not judged by a single factor.
- It is therefore the duty of the state to check whether the notions of equality, justice, and freedom are respected in the political atmosphere they tend to create.
- These terms are protected by constitutional protection.
- Any illegal practices, such as corruption or malfeasance among those who enjoy power, lead to being labeled as an illegitimate government.
- Besides the degree of transparency, there are many ways to measure the legitimacy of a democratically run government.
- Legitimacy is also verified by the degree of inclusion of various marginalized groups and minorities.
- If a government is accountable to the people and accountable for its actions, it is considered politically legitimate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: How is democracy better than other forms of government?
Overall, states with democratic governments prevent the rule of autocrats, guarantee basic individual rights, allow relatively high levels of political equality, and rarely go to war with each other. Compared to non-democratic states, they also better promote human development as measured by indicators such as health and education, provide greater prosperity for their citizens, and ensure a wider range of personal freedoms.
Question 2: Assess any three conditions that apply to the way a democratic government functions after an election.
- People should be free to express their opinions. They should be free to form associations and also to protest.
- The country is governed by constitutional law. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law.
- People’s rights should be respected and protected by an independent judiciary whose orders are obeyed by all.
Question 3: What does direct democracy mean? Why can’t this be practiced in today’s world?
Direct democracy means a democracy in which every citizen must be able to play an equal role in decision-making.
Modern democracies involve such a large number of people that it is physically impossible for them to sit together and take collective decisions. Even the majority does not rule directly, but through their elected representatives. Moreover, the citizen does not have the time, inclination, or ability to participate in all decisions.
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