Key Elements of a Democratic Government

In a democracy, freedom, rights and duties are guaranteed. In other non-democratic political systems, people struggle to win their democratic rights. The Arab world witnessed a series of protests in 2011 – Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and many more. These protests were marked by people’s resistance. Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities. Right to participation is important to achieve equality and group rights.

South Africa is a country that has people of several races. It was earlier governed by apartheid laws. People were divided into white, black, Indian and colored races. African National Congress (ANC), a party formed by black people who led the struggle against apartheid. Nelson Mandela fought the apartheid system for several years and was imprisoned for 27 years. People participate in democracy through voting and electing their leaders.

Mass media like newspapers, magazines and TV play a role in discussing government issues. Right to criticize the government forms an important part of right to freedom of expression. Social movements are another way for people to organise themselves to challenge the government. Minority community, dalits, adivasis and women organise themselves in this manner. Conflicts arise in society due to diversity of religions, cultures, economic divide. Religious processions can cause communal tensions among various communities. River waters also can become source of conflicts among states, e. g, the Cauvery river dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. One of the key ideas of a democratic government is its commitment to equality and justice. In India, practice of untouchability has been abolished by law.

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