Lesson 2:What is Democracy?Why Democracy?
A simple definition Democracy is a form of government in which the rulers are elected by the people.
FEATURES OF DEMOCRACY D Democracy is a form of government in which: Rulers elected by the people take all the major decisionsi Elections offer a choice and fair opportunity to the people to change the current rulers; D IThis choice and opportunity is available to all the people on an equal basis; and The exercise of this choice leads to a government limited by basic rules of the constitution and citizens' rights,
In pakistan Government Under General Musharraf is not Democratic 0 In Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf led a military coup in October 1999. 0 He overthrew a democratically elected government and declared himself the 'Chief Executive' of the country. Later he changed his designation to President and in 2002 held a referendum inthe country that granted him a five- year extension D Pakistani media, human rights organisations and democracy activists said that the referendum was based onmalpractices and fraud
D In August 2002 he issued a 'Legal Framework Order' that amended the Constitution of Pakistan. 0 According to this Order, the President can dismiss the national and provincial assemblies 0. The work of the civilian cabinet is supervised by a National ecurity Council which is dominated by military officers. After passing this law, elections were held to the national and provincial assemblies. So Pakistan has had elections, elected representatives have some powers. D But the final power rests with military officers and General Musharraf himself.
0 In China, elections are regularly held after every five years for electing the country's parliament, called Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (National People's Congress). he National People's Congress has the power to appoint the President of the country. It has nearly 3,000 members elected from all over China. Some members are elected by the army. Before contestingelections, a candidate needs the approval of the Chinese Communist Party. 0 0 0 Only those who are members of the Chinese Communist Party or eight smaller parties allied to it were allowed to contest elections held in 2002-03 The government is always formed by the Communist Party 0
In Saudi Arabia women do not have the right to vote. Estonia has made its citizenship rules in such a way that people belonging to Russian m nority find it difficult to get the right to Wote. 0 In Fiji, the electoral system is such that the vote of an indigenous Fiji has more value than that of an Indian-Fijian.
Zimbabwe attained independence from White minority rule in 1980 0 Since then the country has been ruled by ZANU-PF, the party that led the freedom struggle.lts leader,Robert Mugabe 0Elections have been held regularly and always won by ZANU-PF 0 Over the years his government has changed the constitution several times to increase the powers of the President and make him less accountable. Opposition party workers are harassed and their meeting disrupted. Public protests and demonstrations against thegovernment are declared illegal. 0 There is a law that limits the right to criticise the President. 0 Television and radio are controlled by the government and give only the ruling party's version.
1 There are independent newspapers but the government harasses those journalists who go against it. 1 The government has ignored some court judgments that went against it and has pressurised judges.
I 0 0 Democracy is not a magical solution for all the problems. It has not ended poverty in our country and in other parts of the world. Democracy as a form of government only ensures that people take their own decisions. 0 This does not guarantee that their decisions will be good 0People can make mistakes. Involving the people in these decisions does lead to delays in decision making. It.is also true that democracy leads to frequent changes in leadership. Sometimes this can set back.big decisions and affect the government's efficiency 0
1 Democracy cannot get us everything and is not the solution to all problems. But it is clearly better than any other alternative that we know. It offers better chances of a good decision, it is likely to respect people's own wishes and allows different kinds of people to live together. Even whn itn fails to do some of these things, it allows a way of correcting its mistakes and offers more dignity to all citizens. 0 1 That is why democracy is considered the best form of government.
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