Representative Democracy and Voting

Topics: Democracy, Election, United States Constitution Pages: 5 (1656 words) Published: March 4, 2013
Democracy and Voting
Voting has a characteristic of a democracy, as seen within the Constitution of South Africa. Voting allows and gives people the power to decide who they want to represent them in Government, as this body would make decisions which would be to the benefit of the country. Society, votes in order to bring about change, which would benefit the people and the country, physically, economically and socially. This shows that civil society has the power to elect a particular person who they feel holds the particular characteristics to be a leader, from what they have seen and heard through the media. The focus of this essay aims to identify “what gives voting its democratic character” (Heywood, 2007:74) within South Africa. In addition, this essay will further explain the concepts ‘Democracy’, ‘The Constitution’, ‘Parliament’ and electoral systems, and its functions. Furthermore, this essay will discuss the roles of politicians and what their actions may result in, politically and personally. What is Democracy?

Democracy is a term which derived from Ancient Greek terms ‘demos’, meaning people and ‘kràtos’, meaning strength and power. When used in sync it means that the masses or people rule (Heywood, 2007:72). Within a Democracy there is a “Constitutional government” (Heywood, 2007:318) that is obliged to participate and decide on any decisions, whereby, civil society is considered. Bureaucracy and chauvinism are not factors within a Democracy, as they only benefit who ever holds power (Heywood, 2007:383). Democracy is a term commonly used to describe a country’s way of operating, where everyone is treated equally, no matter race, gender or creed, and gives civil society the right to have a say in who they want in Government. For example, South Africa has been a democratic country since 1994, after Apartheid, which saw ‘blacks’ as inferior and ‘whites’ more superior. Furthermore, before Apartheid, South Africa had a Westminster- type of democracy which composed of a prime minister, same roles as a president and was elected by the monarchy rule, as South Africa was a colony of the British (Jonker, 2011). It can be said that Democracy is equal to egalitarianism, which seeks to bring about change and equality to those previously disadvantaged, physically, intellectually, emotionally and economically. This intangible concept, but there are two differentiating types which help people better understand, direct democracy- which was practiced in Ancient Greece and saw Ancient Greek men make all the decisions and seen as patriarchal, to a more modern approach called a representative democracy- which sees civil society choose whom should represent them, thus giving them restricted control over any decisions brought forward or made. In addition, a representative democracy and electoral democracy work simultaneously because politicians are selected to represent a particular political organization, and civil society is given the Constitutional Right to elect whom ever they feel is capable of doing what the ‘job describes’. Elections are a form of democracy which allows civil society to determine their Government, and decisions can often be based of what they have read or heard through the media or from the political organisation’s manifestos. The political organization or candidate whom receives the most votes would be the democratically elected Government (Denver, 2007:4-171). Furthermore, the political organisation with the most votes holds the majority of seats within Parliament (Heywood, 2007:272). Electoral Systems:

Majoritarian and proportional systems are two sorts of an electoral system. A majoritarian system is a system which gives the bulk of seats in Parliament to a political organisation with the most votes in an election, but who perhaps not have the majority. On the other hand, a proportional system contrasts the above mentioned electoral system, as the numbers of seats reflect the number of...
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