Democracy is a system where citizens choose the governing force of their country through voting. It’s referred to as the ‘rule of the majority’ and importantly it means that no single force is allowed to choose or control the outcome of a country.
There are still countries across the globe which are ruled by non- democratic governments from Libya to Morocco to Iraq to China which can cause significant problems. This is because an autocratic or dictatorial form of government can deny their people of significant freedoms- from the freedom of speech, assembly and religion. They can also be prone to corruption, with bribes and threats often being used. Organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy work to support and strengthen democracy in countries across the world, but there is still a lot of work to be done. But with that being said, how exactly do countries across the globe view democracy- is it something they even want?
Most Swedes believe democracy is the best way of governing their country, in fact nine out of ten said so. Almost sixty percent also believe that it should be citizens (rather than elected government officials) who should vote directly on any major issues faced by the country. Generally, Swedish people believe that democracy works and are happy with this method of governing.
As you would probably expect after Nazi Germany, German people are strongly opposed to be ruled by the military or strong leader. Almost all Germans state that they wouldn’t want a leader who can make decisions without interference from parliament or the courts- this even includes ideological right wing voters and those with less education. In general, these are two groups who tend to give more support for military or autocratic rule when it comes to other countries in the world.
In contrast, most people in Vietnam (seven out of ten) believe that military rule is the best way to govern a country. Almost seventy percent backed a system where experts rather than elected officials make the decisions about what is best for the country. Vietnam has allowed for self-nominated candidates to step up since the early 2000’s, however only a handful have actually been elected. This is due to the fact that it’s the Communist Party instead of the main population who controls the vetting of self-nominated candidates. They will often block independents from running on the official ballot.
The country who was most in favour of a strong leader, unchecked by the judiciary or parliament is India. It is currently described as a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic republic meaning the government has full control on decisions and no external power can dictate the government. Over half of people in India view rule by a strong leader as a good way to govern, and this form of governance continues to be less popular than direct democracy.
Do you believe democracy is always the best way to govern a country? Should other countries be encouraged to rule through a democracy?