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The advantages of democracy

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Democracy can be defined as the system of government in which the ultimate power of the state is in the hands of the people, ruling either directly, as it was in the ancient Greek City States, or through their elected representatives, as obtains in present day. The representatives are usually elected periodically.

It creates responsible governments
One advantage of democracy is that it enables the government in power to be more responsible than they would otherwise have been. This is because there is a fixed term of office to run, after which one must go back to the electorates to renew one’s mandate. Where a government performs well, it is retained and where it does not, it is voted out of power. Governments, aware of this fact try to act responsibly when they are in power.

Allows for a peaceful change of government
Democracy is advantageous, also, because it gives the citizens the opportunity to change their government. In a democracy, the elected representatives are expected to function in the interest of the majority of the people, but if they are unable to achieve this, the citizens have the chance to kick them out of power in the next election. This being so, the people do not have to resort to violent means to change their government.

Chances of a revolution is low
Since the system of democracy offers the opportunity for citizens to maintain or change their elected representatives every four or so years, it follows that staying in power is based on the collective will of the public. Knowing that there is the chance to change a government, the people will not support any group of people who might want to stage a revolution.

There is equal opportunity for all
Another advantage of democracy is that it creates a leveled playing field for everybody. Every citizen is given equal economic, political and social rights to express him or herself. In other words, the system does not discriminate against anybody on the basis of religion, class or sex. Every qualified person is allowed to stand for an elected office or to vote another person into an elected office.

Creates political awareness
It is argued that a democratic system of government serves as ground for training citizens and the creation of political awareness. The citizens are urged to participate in the governance of the state. This is especially so during elections where political parties engage in all kinds of political activities to win election. Political parties churn out vital information during radio and television discussions. They discuss same at various meetings, all in a bid to win the hearts of the people. As they do so, they raise the political awareness of the citizens.

Controls the usurpation of power
In a democratic system, it is difficult for one group of people to usurp authority. This is because when in power, the government is bound by an electoral term beyond which it cannot step except through victory in another round of election. This prevents the government from clinging to power indefinitely.

1. a. What is democracy?
    b. Highlight six advantages of democracy

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