The Liberal Democratic System
Nisa Nabihah binti Juhanuddin (1529734)
Introduction to Political Science
Submitted to: Prof. Dr. Abdul Rashid Moten
A government is run by the chosen representatives of the people who are accountable to the people for their policies and actions. Some of the most common modern classification in political science are known as the Liberal-Democratic, Totalitarian Democratic and Autocratic political systems. The function of these political systems is for governing and enforcing law to the people. In order to achieve this, the purpose of this assignment is to explore what and how one of the political systems, the Liberal-Democratic system, actually work and process in a state by analyzing the definition and the characteristics of it.
According to Moten & Islam (2015), Liberal-Democratic System can be defined as a political system in which democracy or “the rule of people” prevails. Democracy as stated by Abraham Lincoln is “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Other than that, democracy also can be understood as the government by the majority (those who take decision) with the consent of minority (those who will agree and obey). This was run by the chosen representatives of the people who are accountable for their policies and actions. Austin Ranney (2000) defines democracy as “a form of government organized in accordance with the principle of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation, and majority rule.” For example, the countries that used this democratic political system are Australia, the United States, New Zealand and others. Therefore, in order for a country to be considered as practicing Liberal-Democratic system, it must follow six characteristics of the liberal-democratic system, which are: popular participation ensured through regular election, freedom of association, civil liberties, limited and constitutional government, free market economy and lastly civilian rule.
Firstly, one of the characteristics of liberal democratic system is popular participation and ultimate control over government must be ensured through regular election and multiparty system. According to Anton M (2017), leaders from each state are selected through elections free and fair raising which is often reflected by having some entity or political party. There must be regular elections based on universal franchise to determine which party should be responsible and run the government. This will allow the parties to operate without any fear of repercussions or reprisals from any quarter CITATION Mor16 l 1033 (Morton, 2016).
Secondly, other characteristic of liberal democratic system is the freedom of association in a state. Any pressure groups such as trade unions and other voluntary associations are free to operate and attempt to influence the government decisions. For example, in the university, there is an Academic Staff Associations which represent the voice of all academic staff and protect their welfare in a particular university. Based on Morton’s (2016) idea, in spite of the fact that majority rule is practiced, the interests of the minority is also being respected and attempts are made to protect their interests. Any issues that arising will be discussed on both sides so that the decision can be made fairly.
Next, the freedom to form voluntary associations is also defended by the recognition of civil liberties such as the freedom of speech, religion, the right to own property, and all of these are recognized and protected by the state CITATION Mot15 l 1033 (Moten ; Islam, 2015). The freedom of the press such as the mass media including radio, television, newspaper and the Internet are also relatively free from government control, where it can operate and even criticize the government from various ideological viewpoints.
In addition, the liberal democratic system also has a limited and constitutional government. The power of the central government is limited into certain things and it are guided and governed according to the Constitution (a document which contain the structure of the government and the rights of the citizens). The function of the constitution is to limit the power held by government but authorized by citizens. Moreover, the power in the government was being distributed and operated by the separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary.
Besides, a state can be considered as practicing liberal democratic system is when it has free market economy. According to Moten ; Islam (2015), the extent of political control over the social and economic spheres of life is relatively limited. People can have a transaction of buying and selling whenever they want, as the price of goods are determined according to the demand of people. The government should maintain only a supervisory role over its operation and leave the most decision to the working of the “free market”.
Last but not least, the liberal democratic system is operated by the civilian rule. The civilians are the one who will compete with each other for the political power in an open and non-violent manner. The representatives will be chosen by the people, while the armed forces can only participate in politics as private citizens or a pressure group.
To conclude, Liberal-Democratic system is one of the political system which still being practiced until now in some state, where “the rule of the people” prevails. Therefore, it is supposed to possess these six characteristics above: popular participation ensured through regular election, freedom of association, civil liberties, limited and constitutional government, free market economy and lastly civilian rule, before a state can be considered as a liberal-democratic country.
Anton, M. (2017). The future of Liberal Democracy. Journal of Political Science ; Public Affirs, 1-5.
Morton, C. (2016, March 20). Virtual Kollage: The definition and features of Liberal Democracy. Retrieved from Virtual Kollage: http://www.virtualkollage.com/2016/03/the-definition-and-features-of-liberal-democracy.html
Moten, A. R., ; Islam, S. S. (2015). Introduction to Political Science 5th Edition. Petaling Jaya: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd.
Ranney, A. (2000). Governing: An Introduction to Political Science. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.