Forms of Government

Monarchy: (Forms of Government)

This is a hereditary form of government headed by a king or a queen who exercises the sovereignty of a state. It is the oldest form of government. However, there are two types of monarchy and they are;

  1. Absolute Monarchy: In this type of monarchy, the king or queen is both the head of state and the head of government. In other words, the monarch both reigns over and the whole country. The Monarch wields the supreme power, politically and otherwise. Their sovereignty is supported by their claim of the divine right to rule. Examples of countries with absolute monarchy are Morroco and Qatar.
  2. Constitutional Monarchy: This is a type of monarchy in which the king or queen is only the head of state. The monarch is guided by the constitution and can only perform ceremonial functions. The governmental functions and powers are left in the hands of the legislative body. An example of a country that practices constitutional monarchy is The United Kingdom.

Features of Absolute Monarchy: (Forms of Government)

  1. It is hereditary: Leadership is gotten by inheritance among the members of the royal family.
  2. In absolute monarchy, the king or queen is the head of state and the head of government.
  3. It is traditional: Governance is based on traditions and customs.
  4. It is undemocratic: This is because it negates the principles of democracy.
  5. The monarch wields absolute power. An absolute monarch has the full political and supreme power.

Features of Constitutional Monarchy

  1. Checks and balance: It operates the principles checks and balance.
  2. The function of the monarch is mainly ceremonial.
  3. The monarch is guided by the constitution from where he derives his powers.
  4. It is democratic in nature.
  5. In constitutional monarch, the sovereign power belongs to the people.
  6. It practices and operates on the principle of separation of powers.

Republic: (Forms of Government)

This is a form of government in which the people in periodic elections elect their leaders. It is a government in which supreme power resides in the citizens that are eligible to vote. In turn, the power is exercised by the elected representatives that governs them in accordance with the law. A republican state is a non-monarchical state because the head of state is an elected representative of the people usually called the president instead of a King or Queen. Examples of republican government are Nigeria, France, South Africa etc.

Features of a Republican Government.

  1. Election: There are periodic elections.
  2. Popular Participation: There is popular participation of the citizens in governance.
  3. Sovereignty: Political and popular sovereignty rests with the people and a republican state is political independent.
  4. Public Opinion: Public opinion is recognized and respected.
  5. Elected Legislature: The members of the legislature that make laws are also elected.
  6. Equity: There is fairness, equity and transparency in governance.
  7. Fixed Tenure: There are fixed tenure for all elected representatives.

Democracy: (Forms of Government)

It is defined by Abraham Lincoln as the govermment of the people, by the people and for the people. It is a government that is characterized by periodic elections, opinion poll, majority rule and minority protection. Democracy is also characterized by freedom of the citizens. However, the freedom is or can be limited.

Types of Democracy.

  1. Direct Democracy: It is a type of democracy where every qualified citizen gather and participate in decision making and it’s implementation. Direct democracy is the oldest form of democracy. It originated from the ancient city-states of Greece. Today, direct democracy is no longer practicable.
  2. Indirect Democracy/Representative Government: It is type of democracy in which the citizens also called the electorates elect representatives who make and implement decisions on their behalf. Indirect democracy is also called representative government. It is the modern type of democracy that is practiced in all democratic states.

Features of Democracy:

  1. Election: in democracy, leaders and representatives are chosen through periodic and credible elections.
  2. Popular Participation: Massive participation of the people exists in democracy.
  3. Public Opinion: Views of the citizens are respected in democracy.
  4. Accountability: Democracy encourages and promotes due process, transparency and accountability in government.
  5. Sovereignty of the People: in democracy, the people wields the sovereign power.

Factors Necessary for Democracy to Succeed.

  1. Credible Elections: free and fair elections is needed for he successful operation of democracy.
  2. Independent Electoral Body: There must be an independent electoral body that is devoid of any form of malpractice and is free from manipulation by the government so as to discharge it’s duties without bias or intimidation.
  3. Rule of Law: For democracy to succeed, the principles of rule of law must be respected by the authorities and the citizens of the state.
  4. Popular Participation: The people must engage in the political process. Also, qualified and registered voters must participate in the electoral processes.
  5. Alternative Choice: The citizens or electorate should freedom to choose their representatives from multiple political parties.
  6. Tolerance of Opposition: Opposition parties or group should be tolerated by the government.
  7. Freedom of the Press: The media should have freedom of expression. They should have access to information about govermment policies and liberty of publishing such information.
  8. Independent Judiciary: The judiciary should be independent and impartial.

Factors that Hinders the Operation of Democracy.

  1. Corruption: Corrupt practices goes against the principles of accountability and in effect undermines the practice of democratic principles.
  2. Electoral Malpractices: Electoral malpractices also goes against the principles of democracy.
  3. Lack of Press Freedom: Suppressing the freedom of the press by the government hinders democracy. Liberty to investigate governmental actions and publish information to the public is crucial to the success of democracy.
  4. Military Rule: Military government stands against democracy because it is autocratic and dictatorial in nature.
  5. Lack of Independent Judiciary: An independent judiciaryis necessary for democracy. Lack of it undermines the principles of democracy.
  6. Non-autonomous Electoral Commission: An electoral commission that is under the control of the govermment is detrimental to the success of democracy.

Merits/Advantages of Democracy.

  1. Popular Participation: Massive participation of the people exists in democracy.
  2. Public Opinion: Views of the citizens are respected in democracy.
  3. Accountability: Democracy encourages and promotes due process, transparency and accountability in government.
  4. Sovereignty of the People: In democracy, the people wields the sovereign power.
  5. Rule of Law: It promotes the application of the principles of rule of law in the govermment administration.
  6. Judicial Autonomy: The existence of an independent judiciary is an essential component of democracy.
  7. Equity: Equity, fairness and justice exist and are promoted in a democratic society.

Demerits/Disadvantages of Democracy.

  1. Expensiveness: It is argued that democracy is expensive or costly to operate. An example I the huge amount of money required to conduct elections.
  2. Neglect of Minority Opinions: Democracy usually pay more attention to the majority and has been criticized for promoting views that are detrimental to the minority.
  3. Conflicts and Instability: Democracy is argued that it promotes conflicts by encouraging unlimited freedom of the citizens.
  4. Delay in Decision Making: Decision taking is usually slow in democracy because of the consultations and processes involved in making and implementing a decision.
  5. Participation of Uninformed Citizens: The participation of the uninformed may lead to the election of unpopular leaders or representatives.

Other Forms of Government are: (Forms of Government)

Tyranny: This form of government exists where the rulership uses force or the threat of force to rule the people. This is achieved by suppressing and preventing the people from exercising their rights.

Genrontocracy: This is simply a government by the elders. It is a form of government where the leaders are the eldest citizens. This form of government was practised by the pre-colonial Igbo communities.

Theocracy: This form of government exists where there is a fusion or a mixture of politics and religion. In theocracy, the religious head is also the political head. An examples of a theocratic state is The Vatican City. Theocracy was also practised in pre-colonial Hausa/Fulani society.

Stratocracy: This is simply government by the military. The military usually suspends the constitution as soon as they come into power so as to rule by decree and edicts.

Technocracy: This is government by professionals or skilled people. It is a government ran by experts or people with professional knowledge.

Plutocracy: This is government by the wealthy. It is a government run by people that are economically influential.

Aristocracy: This is a government by the nobility. It is a government in which power is vested in a minority of a small privileged class consisting of those believed to be best qualified. Some of the aristocrats are known by their titles such as Dukes, Duchesses, Chiefs, Counts etc.

Oligarchy: This is a government run by only a few, usually for corrupt and their selfish interests.

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