Democracy is a kind of government, which vests the supreme power in its people and exercises them indirectly or directly by involving its people in periodic free and fair elections. In direct democracy, the members of the public are involved in decision making of matters relating to the interest of the public. People therefore air their opinions, which guide the government in enacting policies for the good of its citizens. Through democracy therefore, people run the government and therefore the existence of peace and tranquility (Mann, 2004).
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The freedom of speech and press, adherence to the rule of law, the competition for office, and the universal suffrage characterizes democracy. In a state where people uphold democracy, there exists peace and tranquility. This essay will highlight on various issues, which affects the stability of democracy. It is evident that in the country’s pursuance of democracy, there are many factors, which affect the durability and the construction of the meaningful governments. The liberal and the electoral terms are the factors affecting the building of a democratic government. These factors may be internal or external depending on how and when they obstruct the attainment of democracy.
The in internal factors affecting democracy are the civil societies, demography, the press, the strength, structure, and transparency of democratic institutions, the economy, the geography, and the electorate. On the other hand, the external factors affecting democracy include the influence of non-democratic nations, international finance mechanisms and the global markets, the democratic promotions by other nations, and the democracy promotions by the international and the regional organizations.
The economic development and industrialization
The economic developments and industrialization influences the pursuance of democracy in different perspectives. The economic growth resulting from the free market capitalism influences the development of democratic governance (Mann, 2004). The issue of democracy and capitalism are conflicting in that the pursuance of one may lead to the omission or the negligence of the other. This is because the key factors, which motivate people to pursue democracy whilst developing their capacity of self-governance, are the same factors that steer people to pursue capitalism in order to develop and build their capacity in succeeding the free market. It is evident that the economic change can force a country to be democratic.
However, the free market capitalism may undermine democracy when the class ambiguity takes the centre stage. The unequal distribution of the economic growth in the society due to the class ambiguities undermines democracy in that; the people with property and wealth enjoy the free market capitalism whereas the less fortunate who belong to the lower class in the society find it undemocratic. This is because of their inability to compete due to lack of capital.
The market failures therefore results in huge inequalities of wealth across all levels of people in the society, the class tensions and poverty. In a free market therefore, not all members of the society are able to enjoy the opportunities and the benefits of the economic growth. It is a necessity for a state to avoid pure free market capitalism in order to enhance the stability of democracy.
Government institutions: Transparency, Structure, and Strength
The federal systems of government is likely to hinder the pursuance of democracy in that the different arms of the government may lead to disputes over the unbalanced distribution of the national resources. The vertical distribution of power between the local, and the national governments has negative impacts to democracy. In the local governments, the people have a direct influence of the implementation and the enactment of various policies affecting them. The people, who do not embrace change and are not democratic oriented, are bound to form the anti-democratic coalitions through which they can polarize the anticipated issues of democracy (Mann, 2004).
In an event whereby the presidential system holds, democracy is likely to be unstable since the decision making regarding the handling of the national issues remains with the president who has the supreme power. The implementation of undemocratic issues, which do not augur well with the people, occurs under such system of governance. The branches of the local and the national governments, which have different mandates, also determine the horizontal arrangements of democracies. These branches include the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.
The judiciary, which has the responsibility of enforcing the rule of law, may sometimes obstruct the pursuance of democracy if influenced by the executive arm of the governments. Democracy may be unstable due to the veto powers, which in many cases result in deadlocks between the different arms of government that aims at fostering the checks and balances of the central government.
In an event where the undue consolidation of power occurs within the legislature, democracy is bound to be unstable. This occurs when the incumbency confers the enormous advantage to the office holders, hence obstructing democratic governance. When this happens, the leaders may become entrenched and thus manipulate the campaign finance laws, press, and confer the patronage to other leaders to stay in office with the election outcomes notwithstanding.
The veteran legislators who have served for a long time in the parliament may destabilize democracy by engaging themselves in the vices such as corruption. Democracy becomes unstable when the government fails to establish the institutions that are democratic in nature. When this fails to occur, the government fails to achieve the tenable balance of power, the effective measure of strength, and the quality of performance.
When the government fails to demonstrate good governance, they lack transparency and accountability to the people who are the electorates. This implies that the governments engage in corruption whose ultimate outcome destabilizes democracy. The government has final decisions in governance related issues that are susceptible to corruption such as the government contracts, earmarks of pet projects, procurement, regulatory loopholes, and other issues (Mann, 2004).
The legislators’ ability to violate the preset procedures in hiring and the giving of the government contracts is likely to destabilized democracy. In order to promote good governance, which enhances the stability of democracy, the government should inculcate transparency in running of its affairs by opening up the decision-making by creating a record of processes, which allows for the consideration of divergent interests. The government should also create a demand for good, sound, and empirical evidence behind the political decisions. This ensures the elimination of the conflicts of interests and the incompetence, which hampers the pursuit of democracy.
Lack of leadership that informs electorates
The people behind the institutions of government may hinder the pursuit of democracy. The leaders of the democratically elected offices should exercise their leadership with respect to the views of the majority (Mann, 2004). However, in the event where the decisions are in favor of the majority, democracy becomes unstable. When the leaders of various institutions exercise their leadership in unprofessional manner, they fail to address the contentious issues raised by the minority thus influence the pursuit of democracy.
The election of democratic leaders to the respective offices through the electoral process should be free and fair. However, the electoral processes at times are unconstitutional, hence destabilizing democracy. It is the democratic right of the citizens to participate in the elections of their leaders, and therefore the outcomes of the elections warrants respect. The incumbent leaders who cling to power therefore become obstacles to the path of democracy. The voters on the other hand may influence the pursuance of democracy if the external forces such as bribery influence their voting patterns. In this case, the voters may not value the democratic ideals with respect to the characters of the individuals contesting for the electoral posts.
Democracy also becomes unstable when the electorates fail to harbor the realistic expectations of what the governments can influence. It is therefore the responsibility of the electoral bodies, and the leaders to educate the electorates on various crucial issues affecting them. The electorates should be educated on how their voting reflects their preferences. In casting their ballots, the electoral management bodies should ensure free and fair casting of ballots.
The civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, charitable organizations, political, and the religious groups have a responsibility of educating the people in matters pertaining democracy. In the event where the fore mentioned groups fail to play their role, the pursuit of democracy fails. The civil society groups serve as the government watchdogs and thus should guide the people on how to approach the democratic issues.
In conjunction with the electoral management bodies, the civil society groups together with the non-governmental organizations should guide the electorates in how to approach the social issues, and in making decisions regarding their own welfare within the political process. The political parties also play a crucial role in determining the level of democracy. In a situation where the existence of political parties is as minimal as one, democracy may not prevail owing to the monopoly of the single parties (Mann, 2004). This may lead to the failure of the enactment of the viable policies that are of utmost importance for the nation.
Lack of independence, freedom, and the substandard quality of press may negatively influence democracy. Through media such as televisions, internet, radio, and the print, the government and the civil society groups should educate its members on the long-term prospects of democracy, which encourages them to express their views on various issues pertaining to their democratic rights.
In places where the exponential proliferation of modern media is at large, democracy may be destabilized. Lack of access to the internet sites, network, radio outlets, and the blogs, may lead to democratization. In a situation where the publicity of the issues regarding the democratic governance is not through the magazines, and the newspapers, the deprivation of democratic rights of people is likely to occur.
Demography and geographical locations
The higher population density means that people will scramble for the few available spaces such as job vacancies and other factors, which are necessary for the comforts opt human beings. In such cases, the institutional malpractices such as corruption, nepotism, and discrimination are likely to happen (Mann, 2004). This therefore destabilizes democracy. Human movements such as the immigrations pose the ethnic related challenge for democracies. In a place where the people of cultural diversity are living together, the pursuit of democracy is bound to fail owing to the cultural beliefs. People from some ethnic groups prevent women from participating in leadership roles owing to their cultural beliefs.
Under the traditional cultural practices, the perception of domestic duties as belonging to women, leads to deprivation of women’s democratic rights. The geographical locations, which are inaccessible owing to lack of commercial ports, arable land for human development, and lack of sufficient water sources influences the stability of democracy. People living in harsh conditions such as the arid lands for instance often struggle just to survive. The participation of people living under such conditions in the issues of democracy such as education and democratic governments appear as luxuries in comparison to the basic survival needs.
In conclusion, democracy is a very important aspect, which enhances the respect of human dignity by considering the views of the people while enacting the policies that affect them directly or indirectly. In order to foster the pursuance of democracy therefore, the civil society groups, non-governmental organizations, religious groups and the leaders of various government institutions should aid the common citizens (Mann, 2004). This includes capacity building them through education concerning their democratic rights.
The leaders also teach people on how to countercheck the government on issues of democratic governance. Good governance depends on the leaders and therefore the electorates should be educated on the importance of voting in the leaders based on their policies. The electorates should also be encouraged to shun the vices, which hinder the process if electing democratic leaders such as bribery.
Mann, M. (2004). Facists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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