Lesson 1:Democracy in the Contemporary World
Restoration of Democracy 0 In 1988. Solidarity again organised the strikes. 0 This time the Polish government was weaker, the support from Soviet Union uncertain and the economy was in decline In April 1989, another round of negotiations with Walesa resulted in an agreement for free elections. D Solidarity contested all the 100 seats of the Senate and won 99 of them 0 In October 1990, Poland had its first presidential elections in which more than one party could contest. 0 Walesa was elected President of Poland
Two Features of Democracy povernmment that.allawa peon le to choose Democracy, hence, is a form of their own leaders. People have the freedom to express their views, freedom to organize freedom to protest against injustice to protest agains ijustice and freedom
Changing Map Of Democracy 0 In 1900, there were few democracies in the world Countries like USA, France, England, etc. 0 In 1950, Many Asian countries achieved independence from colonisation and opted for democracies. Countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar etc. In 1975, more countries opted democracies in the world. However, in many countries, democratic government was overthrown by dictators. 0 By 2000, more than half of the countries of the world followed democracy. The disintegration of USSR and support from other democratic countries paved the way for democracy.
Phases in the Expansion of Democracy The Begining The French Revolution of 1789 did not establish a secure and stable democracy in France.However, it inspired many struggles for democracy all over Europe. Through the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, series of political events reduced the power of monarchy and feudal lords In 1776, the British colonies in North America declared themselves independent and came together to form the United States of America. They adopted a democratic constitution in 1787 but the right to vote was limited to very few men. The nation struggling for democracy wanted voting right granted universally to all adults - men or women, rich or poor, white or black called 'universal adult franchise' or 'universal suffrage' Early democracies were established in Europe, North America and Latin America.
D End of Colonialism 0 Many countries became democracies immediately after the end of the Second World War in 1945. 0 However, many could not remain democracies for long. 0 Ghana, a country in western Africa used to be a British colony named Gold Coast.lt became independent in 1957 It was among the first countries in Africa to gain independence and inspired other Afri an countries to struggle for freedom. NKrumah who was active in the independence struggle of his country became the rst prime minister and then the president of Ghana. e got himself elected president for life but soon after, in 1966, he was overthrown by the military. Like Ghana, most countries that became democracies after gaining independence d a mixed record.
Recent Phase d After 1980, democracy started spreading more quickly 0 The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 accelerated this process. 0 The Soviet Union comprised 15 Republics which emerged as in most of them became democracies. Democracy was revived in several countries of Latin America. Pakist n and Bangladesh made a transition from army rule to democracy in 1990s. However, changes were not permanent in Pakistan as in 1999 General Musharraf brought b ck army rule there. n Nepal, the king gave up many of his powers to become a constitutional monarch to be guided by elected leaders. In 2005 the new king of Nepal dismissed the elected government and took back political freedoms that people had won in the previous decade. 0
Myanmar, a neighbouring country of India, gained freedom from colonial rule in 1948 and became a democracy 0 But the democratic rule ended in 1962 with a military coup. 0 The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won the election in 1990 elections. 0 But the military leaders of Myanmar refused to step down and did not recognise the election results. Instead, the military put the elected pro-democracy leaders, including Suy Kyi, under house arrest. 0 Anyone caught publicly airing views or issuing statements critical of the regime can be sentenced up to twenty years in prison. Due to the coercive policies of the military-ruled government in Myanmar, about 6 to 10 lakh people in that country have been uprooted from their homes and have taken shelter elsewhere 0 Despite being under house arrest, Suu Kyi continued to campaign for democracy. her struggle has won international recognition. She has also been awarded the Noble Peace prize. 0Yet the people in Myanmar are still struggling to establish democratic government in their country.
Democracy at Global Level 0Is it possible to have democracy at global level? Not at present. 0The UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are global associations of the world. They attempt to maintain peace and security among the countries of the world. 0 They give loans and money to governments. 1 These organisations cannot command countries and citizens in a way a government can, but they do make rules that put limits on what governments can do
l Case of UN N Every one of the member states of the UN has one vote in the UN General Assembly 0 General Assembly is like the parliament where all the discussion takes place. It meets in regular yearly sessions under a president elected from among the representatives of the member countries. D But the General Assembly cannot take any decision about what action should be taken in a conflict between different countries. 0 The fifteen-member Security Council of the UN takes such crucial decisions. The Council has Five permanent members -US, Russia, UK, France and China and ten other m mbers are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The real power is with five permanent members.Each permanent member has veto power. It means that the Council cannot take a decision if any permanent member says no to that decision. I This system has led more and more people and countries to protest and demand that the UN becomes more democratic 0 The permanent members, especially the US, contribute most of the money needed for the maintenance of the UN
Promotion of Democracy D Many powerful countries like the United States of America believe that democracy should be promoted in the world even by force. D Powerful countries have launched attacks on non- emocratic countries. Iraq is the biggest example. USA and its allies attacked and occupied Iraq without UN sanction, on the pretext of Iraq possessing nuclear weapons. They have even held forced elections. 0The urge for democracy should come from the people and should not be imposed.
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