Characteristics of a democracy

Let’s learn what are the characteristics of a democracy but before we begin, it’s important to understand the main meaning of democracy in a state, its characteristics, and its features. According to the Oxford dictionary the word Democracy was derived from Greek terminology ‘people’ or ‘demos’ which refers to the system that belongs to people or is ruled by the people. Democracy is part of public administration because it’s strengthened through bureaucratic institutions, hence why public administration has everything to do with democracy. Here, citizens of the state take part in an electoral process as this is the sovereign right of the people.

The term and principle of democracy were adopted by the USA in the 17th century and if you’re asking What are the Characteristics of a democratic government. The main characteristics of a Democracy include a constitution, popular sovereignty of a state, majority rule, existence of individual rights, free and fair elections, citizen participation in public affairs, freedom of speech and assembly, equality, rule of law, and Free independent media.

Top 10 main Characteristics of a Democracy

Top 10 Characteristics of democracy

1. Constitution
2. Popular Sovereignty
3. Majority Rule 
4. Individual Rights
5. Free and fair Elections
6. Elected Representative:
7. Independent Judiciary: 
8. Organized Opposition Party
9. Rule of Law
10. Equality

Here is a list of 10 characteristics of democracy if you have been asking what are the characteristics of democracy? Find 10 key features and main characteristics of a democracy today in government, society, and modern state listed below.

1. Constitution

The constitution is a supreme law of the land that states the fundamental rights and key obligations of the government. Enshrined in the constitution includes the civil and political rights and limitations of state power on its citizens. In the USA the Constitution plays an important significant role and responsibility in helping the people through the process of deciding the needed, for good governance and require aspirations ensuring the common people’s needs and welfare of every citizen in the country are provided equally.

Read: Principles of Bureaucracy

The constitution in any country has two major parts, namely Federalism and unitary. These are the types of government presentative levels and administrations of government. In the Federalism type of government, the constitution allows the local, state, and national levels to share power.

In a democracy, the responsibility for power lies with the adult citizens of society who’re allowed to freely engage in the selection of processes to freely be able to choose their own representatives of choice through voting or elections. Popular sovereignty has one main goal and its purpose has been to show the significance of democracy.

Read: Differences between legislation policies and procedures

The government of every country in the world which falls through democratic characteristics must always obtain its power from the people. Done through a process that takes place every five to four years called elections, which gives them the ability to select, replace or reelect members of parliament and government officials entirely.

3. Majority Rule 

Democracy follows the decision-making approach of majority rule in the way it’s processed. It focuses on individual human fundamental rights within the same state and country. This ensures that all critical levels of the liberal government operate within the borders of democracies and are accessible to the public, population, and people. The legislature is responsible for passing the laws by the majority. In Democracy, decentralize the central government at different local and regional levels in which governments at all levels are responsible and accessible to the people.

The executive takes the decisions by majority rule as well. Next, the Supreme Court makes its rulings and judgments by the majority. While the majority takes decisions, it also includes the views and the wishes of the minorities. A consensus makes decisions, accommodating both the majority as well as the opposition.

4. Individual rights

The primary objective of democracies is to protect the human rights of every citizen. These include Freedom of speech Equality Freedom to choose their religion Freedom to participate in and organize cultural, economic, and political events in the society. Moreover, people of the right ages should be allowed to contest elections if they wish to do so. Democracies decide an age limit after which any citizen fulfilling specific criteria can participate in the election.

5. Free and fair Elections

Moreover, people of the right ages should be allowed to contest in the elections if they wish to do so. Democracies decide an age limit after which any citizen fulfilling specific criteria can participate in the election. All adult citizens have the right to vote for their government representatives. They should follow a well-accepted and trusted procedure. It is the process through which the citizens elect their leaders (representatives) for the next 4 to 5 years. The election process is free and fair and is held at regular intervals. In a democracy, provides for credible elections should be held at regular intervals.

Read: Scope of public administration

Democracy provides efficient and independent existence of other political parties which must operate without any interference. Every machinery for each election cycle has a right to participate. Voting has to be accessible to the citizens of the legal voting age.

  • Characteristics of Free and fair elections
  1. Every opposition party and respective candidates need to enjoy the freedom of assembly, speech, and movement
  2. Public Elections need to be periodic in a democracy
  3. Democratic elections should be inclusive, and voters should be large enough to include all of the adult population
  4. Voters in democracy cast their ballots in secret for neutralizing the chances of intimidation
  5. Democracy to exist needs to have a loyal opposition

6. Citizen Participation

People have the right to contest in elections, once of certain ages if they wish to do so. Democracies decide an age limit after which any citizen fulfilling specific criteria can participate in the election. A democracy gives equal political rights to every citizen of the nation. Everyone is free from discrimination whether male or female and not of black skin color.

The political, as well as civic equality among everyone,  is regarded as a fundamental right. Constitutional democracy believes that every citizen has access to equal opportunities which can help them improve their well-being. This democracy also aims to reduce and eliminate the differences between wealth by introducing social welfare programs and progressive taxation.

7. Freedom of speech and assembly

Freedom includes the right to freedom of expression and speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of the press, freedom from arbitrary arrests, freedom to form associations, and freedom to enjoy family life. Principles of public administration within a democracy are important, each individual enjoys the freedom and fundamental rights ensured by administrators. These rights include the protection of all rights by the courts.

Democracy consists of an independent judicial system that is concentrated on protecting the rights and freedom of the citizens of the nation.

8. Equality

Democracy is the idea of liberalism having political, economic, as well as social liberalism as the hallmark of democracy. All people of a democracy are sovereign.

Read: Public Administration & Bureaucracy(Differences)

Hence the availability of all necessary rights, equality, popular sovereignty, responsible government, laws, and the decentralization of powers are the principles without which democracy fails. Individuals should be treated the same with significant points that you consider integral to each person in democracies around the world. Democracy is the best way of governing a country that promotes human rights and favors any person to be treated and respected in similar ways.

9. Rule of law

Democracy is a set of principles which are in regard to freedom and that includes the rule of law. To understand the characteristics of Democracy in an all-embracing media fashion; let’s get started with why rule of law is important in Democracy. Rule of law helps in the protection of citizens and arranging fair legal process. These include justice without interference, and avoiding patterns that are manipulated if rule of law is not independent.

Read: Management As A Science, Art & Profession

The fundamental characteristics of democracy include the rule of law, equality, which applies to workers, media, and people together with freedom of speech and assembly, and inclusiveness.

10. Free independent media

Media in Democracy plays a key role in informing and educating citizens in many ways. It began years ago from the traditional Radio, Newspapers, Television, Books, Magazines, etc. It expands to new modern media like Satellite which covers current affairs and international Television, to the Internet and Social Media, the independence of media is one of the most significant characteristics of democracy.

  • Media serves a different role in a democracy including:
  1. Sending information and educating citizens
  2. Advocating independently without any form of the pretext of objectivity
  3. Serving as a watchdog upon various government entities
  4. Plays an active role in the public debates through editorials, and investigative reporting
  5. The media plays a crucial role in setting the agenda straight with no room for being partisan.
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