Basic Principles of Democracy

Topics: Democracy / Pages: 25 (6020 words) / Published: Jan 9th, 2013
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With the financial support of the "Europe for Citizens" Programme of the European Commission

"Too many people expect wonders from democracy, when the most wonderful thing of all is just having it."
Walter Winchell

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF ACTIVE DEMOCRACY

What Is Democracy? [pic]

Democracy comes from the Greek word, "demos," meaning people. In democracies, it is the people who hold sovereign power over legislator and government.
Democracy is a form of government in which power is held by people under a free electoral system. It is derived from the Greek δημοκρατία, "popular government"] which was coined from δήμος (dēmos), "people" and κράτος (kratos), "rule, strength" in the middle of the 5th-4th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in some Greek city-states, notably Athens following a popular uprising in 508 BC.
In political theory, democracy describes a small number of related forms of government and also a political philosophy. Even though there is no universally accepted definition of 'democracy', there are two principles that any definition of democracy includes. The first principle is that all members of the society have equal access to power and the second one that all the members enjoy universally recognized freedoms and liberties.
There are several varieties of democracy some of which provide better representation and more freedoms for their citizens than others. However, if any democracy is not carefully legislated to avoid an uneven distribution of political power with balances such as the separation of powers, then a branch of the system of rule is able to accumulate power in a way that is harmful to democracy itself. The "majority rule" is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without responsible government it is possible for the rights of a minority to be abused by the "tyranny of the majority". An essential process in representative democracies are competitive

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