DEMOCRACY is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Constitutional democracy can be defined as a system of government in which there are clear limits of political authorities, and the electorate has the power to remove poor performing governments.
Constitutional democracy is the type of democracy where powers of the majority are exercised within a frame work of the constitution designed to guarantee the majority right.
In Constitutional Democracy, how the people are to be ruled and governed are clearly stated in the constitution.
Types of Constitutional Democracy
- Pluralism: This is a type of constitutional democracy in which majority of the people are allowed to exercise their views, opinions and idea. A pluralist democracy describes a political system where there is more than one center of power. Democracies are by definition pluralist as democracies allow freedom of association. However, pluralism may exist without democracy.
- Republican constitutional democracy: This type of democracy allows for proceedings on issues that concern state alone. It includes all the people of a state but only on the issues that concern the state alone. Examples of countries that practice this are India, France, and Ireland
- Constitutional Direct: This fashion all its progressions and procedures according to the constitution of the state and allow the direct participation in the political affairs
CHARACTERISTICS OF CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
- POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY. The people are the ultimate source of the authority of the government which derives its right to govern from their consent.
- MINORITY RIGHTS. Although “the majority rules,” the fundamental rights of individuals in the minority are protected. Under constitutional democracy, the rights of the voiceless or the unprivileged are well secured through the constitution.
- LIMITED GOVERNMENT. The powers of government are limited by law and a written or unwritten constitution which those in power obey. The government in constitutional democracy is limited unlike that of other forms of democracy in which government can be dissolved at any time.
- INSTITUTIONAL AND PROCEDURAL LIMITATIONS ON POWERS. There are certain institutional and procedural devices which limit the powers of government. These may include:
- SEPARATED AND SHARED POWERS. Powers are separated among different agencies or branches of government. Each agency or branch has primary responsibility for certain functions such as legislative, executive, and judicial functions. However, each branch also shares these functions with the other branches.
- CHECKS AND BALANCES. Different agencies or branches of government have adequate power to check the powers of other branches. Checks and balances may include the power of judicial review. At the power of courts to declare actions of other branches of government to be contrary to the constitution and therefore null and void.
- DUE PROCESS OF LAW. Individual rights to life, liberty, and property are protected by the guarantee of due process of law.
- LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION THROUGH ELECTIONS. Elections insure that key positions in government will be contested at periodic intervals and that the transfer of governmental authority is accomplished in a peaceful and orderly process.
- Popular Sovereignty: In constitutional democracy, the people are seen as the louder voice of the government of a state, this makes the will of the electorate to prevail.
- Basic freedom: The constitution allows the people to know their rights and ensure that their rights are protected; there is basic freedom of interference from the people in the affairs of government
- Majority rule: This is the rule that gives the majority the chance to express their views and opinions in the affair of the government. Majority rule gives leadership rights to the people and thereby gain the full support and recognition of the masses.