Legitimacy is a political concepts which refers to the acceptance and recognition by the citizens of a country, the rights of their rulers to govern. It means a government with legal and constitutional backing. A legitimate government derives its power and mandate from the people (i.e elected governments are legitimate).
Factors That Helps To Determine Or Sustain Legitimacy Of A State
1. Good And Reliable Leadership: Legitimacy is accorded a leader if he performs creditably in office.
2. Good Government: If the government is providing the need of the people and if the government policies are to the best of the people’s intention.
3. Legitimacy Through Periodic Election: Regular free and fair election serve as a useful tool of choosing those that controls the government on behalf of the people.
4. Customs And Tradition: Respect for the peoples custom and tradition can help to sustain or determine legitimacy.
5. Foreign Policy Objectives: The extent of foreign objectives initiated by a country determines the level of acceptance given it by other countries.
6. Wider Scope Of Political Participation: The involvement of all sections of the people in government (carrying people along) helps to determine legitimacy e.g, giving political appointments to people from different interest groups, giving listening ear to peoples views, criticism and suggestions.
7. Ideology: The ability of the governments to uphold the tericts of the state ideology will help to determine legitimacy.
Basic Features Of A Legitimate Government
1. Regular Conduct of Free and Fair Election: A legitimate government will not perpetuate itself in office. Its tenure is usually limited to the provision of the constitution.
2. Responsiveness, Accountability Of Government To The People This is important because they are the ones that kept them there in government.
3. Rule By Constitution Provision: A legitimate government always strive to rule in accordance to the provisions of the constitution.
4. Tolerance Of Opposition: Opposing views including political parties that do not command majority are always tolerated for the government to move forward.
5. Respect for fundamental rights as well as judicial independence to allow for free and fair hearing.
6. Separation Of Power: Decongestion of political and social power to check the extent of authority.
Advantages Of Running A Legitimate Government
1. Legitimacy in government makes the government to be stable.
2. It makes the government to be democratic.
3. It produces responsible government.
4. It prevent tyranny and abuse of power.
5. Legitimacy gives the citizen as sense of belonging in their government.
6. It reduces the amount of coerecion or force government has to apply to obtain compliance from the people.