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Democracy assumes there exists parties to choose from and vote for, that the governing

party or president will actually hand over power, and elections are not just a way but the
only acceptable way to remove governments. Also that the elections occur under a set
institutional framework, that is elections have a set of rules that structure the
competition. (formal).
Democracy therefore involves competition (w/o it then there is no democracy),
competition and elections therefore provide vertical accountability, i.e. accountability of
the government party or parties to the voters.
W/o accountability or competition, then power will presumably stay there indefnitely
regardless of wishes of the people.> called an autocracy. (autocracy also applies to
rule by a group as long as it is unaccountable to the people as a whole)
Autocracy opposite of democracy. Having an elected and thus downwardly accountable
government is a key diference from an autocracy, but full democracy needs more than
2 types of democracy:
Electoral Democracy
Liberal Democracy
Electoral Democracy:
- ED is a civilian, constitutional system in which the legislative and chief executive
ofces are flled through regular, competitive, and multipart elections with universal
sufrage (thus producing the vertical accountability of responsible government)
Liberal Democracy:
- In addition to the elements of liberal democracy, it requires frst the absence of
reserved domains of power for the military or other actors not accountable to the
electorate, directly or indirectly. second, in addition to vertical accountability of rulers to
the ruled (Secured mainly through elections) it requires the horizontal accountability of
ofceholders to one another. This constrains executive power and so helps protect
constitutionalism, legality and the deliberative process. Third, it encompasses extensive
provisions for political and civil pluralism as well as for individual and group freedoms,
so that contending interest and values may be expressed and compete through ongoing
processes of articulation and representation beyond periodic elections. Freedom and
pluralism can only be secured through a rule of law in which legal rules are applied
fairly, constantly, and predictability across equivalent cases, irrespective of class, status,
or power of those subject to the rules.
Electoral democracy is not a liberal democracy, but a liberal democracy is an electoral
democracy and them some.
Liberal Democracy involves no less than fve separate elements:
1. Responsible government> government is responsible to the people (downwards
accountability) and ONLY responsible to the people, and not any other political actor
who may be pulling the strings behind the curtain (like a monarch or military)> not
enough to have an elected government if it is not the real government, Political
decisions are taken in a reasonably transparent way by elected ofcials who are thus
directly and ultimately accountable to the electorate and not a monarch or military.
Government thus never overthrown or desposed by such actors nor indeed forced out of
ofce by non-constitutional means. full civilian executive control over the military.
2. Free and fair competition for political ofce: elected ofcials are chosen and
peacefully removed in free, fair and relatively frequent elections with minimal or ideally
no coercion of the voters. political parties can freely form and compete in elections by
the people. contrast to autocracies that engage in widespread and systematic election
fraud and/or exhibit widespread and systematic pro-regime bias in the election
3. Full and equal rights of political participation: practically all adults have the right to
vote, there is only one vote per person, likewise most adults have the right to run for
4. Full Civil Liberties: there is freedom of expression, including the right to critize public
ofcials and government policies. There is freedom of press with various alternative,
non-governmental sources of information. There is freedom of organization (into
autonomous groups). There is freedom of religion.
6. A well-functioning state, with efective and fair governance: the state that is the
political beuracratic system penetrates efectively and more or less even throughout the
country. The rule of law clearly and strongly exists and is upheld in an independent
unbiased judiciary. Political and bureaucratic corruption is minimal or ideally non-
The frst three elements of liberal democracy responsible government, free and fair
competition,and full and equal rights of political participation- are what are needed
nowadays to be an electoral democracy as opposed to an autocracy.
Distinguishing semi-liberal autocracies from closed autocracies.
Closed autocracy the antithesis of liberal democracy.
Key diference between an electoral democracy and a semi-liberal autocracy is that in
the former the government can be voted out and thereby replaced whereas the latter it
efectively cannot.
Semi-liberal autocracies: most important feature is the existence and persistence of
mechanisms that efectively prevent the transfer of power through elections from the
hands of incumbent leaders to a new political elite or organization. These mechanisms
for blocking power transfers function despite the existence of formally democratic
institutions and the degree of political freedom granted to the citizens of the country.
They have reasonably free press, may leave space for autonomous organizations of civil
society to operate, for private businesses to grow and thus for new economic elites to
rise. may hold fairly open elections for local or regional government sir even allow
benchmarks from the government party to be defeated in elections ( but no way to
challenge successfully the power of the incumbents.) outsiders not allowed to truly
challenge the power of the incumbents elections are not the source of the
governments power even though claimed for legitimization, and thus voters cannot
transfer power to new leadership
Closed autocracy characterized by either one ofcial party or all parties are forbidden.
no signifcant social pluralism usually some economic and religious pluralism. no or next
to no civil liberties, no formal guiding ideology at best distinctive tendencies, usually
nationalistic, emphasis on demobilization, except at some historical points, legitimacy
comes from tradition and or claims of acting in the national interest., a leader or a small
group enjoys legally undefned limits but in fact is somewhat constrained by the
bureaucracy, military and or economic actors. and no political accountability to the
population. leadership usually for life unless overthrown
One way to go beyond liberal democracy is direct democracy in which the population as
awhile makes the decision on specifc issues.