Top 11 Important Components of Democracy – Explained!

Components of Democracy

1. Consensus:

All citizens may not agree on the substantive goals of political action or on the role of the state; even if they did, it would certainly make governing democracy easier.

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2. Participation:

All citizens may not take an active and equal part in politics; although it must be formally and legally possible to do so, and it would be desirable if they did so.

3. Access:

Rulers may not weigh equally the preferences of all citizens -individuals or groups- but citizens should have an equal opportunity to access the powers that be.

4. Responsiveness:

Rulers may not always follow the course of action preferred by citizens; but they must be held ultimately accountable through the processes of representation.

5. Majority rule:

Majority of votes or representatives alone cannot become the basis of laws and allocations.

6. Parliamentary sovereignty:

The legislature may not be the only body that can make rules or even the one that must have final authority in deciding what is binding on the public as a whole. Although where executive, judiciary or other public bodies do make that ultimate choice, they too must be capable of being held accountable for their actions.

7. Party government:

Rulers may not be nominated, promoted and disciplined in their activities by well-organised and programmatically coherent political parties. Although where they are not, it may prove difficult to form an effective government and even more difficult to carry out intended policies.

8. Pluralism:

The political process may not be based on a multiplicity of overlapping, voluntaristic, and autonomous private groups. Although where there are monopolies of representation, hierarchies of associations and obligatory membership, it is likely that the interests involved will be more closely linked to the state and the separation between the public and private spheres of action will be much less distinct.

9. Federalism:

Democratic politics may not be federal but some dispersion of power across units -territorial and/or functional-is characteristic of all democracies.

10. Presidentialism:

The chief executive may or may not be directly elected and may be single or collegial but some concentration of the authority to act for the polity as a whole is present in all the executives in all types of democracies.

11. Checks and Balances:

Different branches of government may or may not check and balance each other constitutionally be that by an assembly, by executive concentration, by judicial command, or even by dictatorial fiat must be ultimately accountable to the citizenry as a whole.

The aforesaid are often presented as essential components of democracy. Instead, they should be recognised either as indicators for delimiting one or another type of democracy, or as useful standards for evaluating the performance of one or another particular type of regime.

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