Table Of Contents
- Definition Of Representative Government
- Features Of Representative Government
- Condition For The Establishment Of The Representative Government
- Merits Of A Representative Government
- Demerits Of A Representative Government
Meaning Of Representative Government
Representative government, also known as indirect democracy, is defined as a government of elected representative of the people. Those elected through organised election, rule on behalf of the people and with every assurance that their interest will be enhanced and protected.
Features Of Representative Democracy
1. Free & Fair Election: In every representative government, election are conducted free and fair election deprived any electoral malpractice.
2. Periodic Election: Elections are conducted periodically in some political systems. It could be every four & five years.
3. Free Press: The press should be free, so as to be able to disseminate information to the people on choice of candidate and political parties.
4. Independent Electoral Commission: This body in charge of election should be independent & impartial in the discharge of it’s functions.
5. Existence Of Law Court: People should have free access to the courts when they are aggrieved.
6. Rule Of Law: The provision of the constitution as well as laws of the land must be observed by both the rulers and the ruled.
7. Freedom Of Choice: The people should have free choice to make when deciding for political parties and candidates.
8. Well Defined Electoral Constituencies: This will promote efficiency in the elections and possibly help to defect electoral malpractice.
Conditions For The Establishment Of Representative Government
Here are the means of establishing representative government:
1. Peoples Opinion: People’s opinion should be respected especially on issues of national importance. People should be free to criticize the government constructively.
2. The Practice Of Multi-PartY System: The most acceptable party system that allows for equitable and proportional representatives should be allowed to stay e.g multi-party system.
3. Written Constitution: Written constitution helps to specify the rule of the game as everything will be properly documented.
4. Rule Of Law: There is need for everybody including the political leaders to abide by the provisions of the constitution and respect for the laws of the land.
5. Universal Adult Suffrage: Every qualified adult should be allowed to vote and be voted for in any political election.
6. An Electoral Process: An electoral process should be created with adequate electoral body charged completely with the affairs & administration of election
7. Fundamental Human Right: These rights are necessary for a Representative government and should be entrenched in the constitution. These essential rights are freedom or forming or joining any political association, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, press freedom etc.
8. Independent & Impartial Judiciary: This institution should be free undue interference and control from other arms of government e.g Executive or Legislature.
Merits Of A Representative Government
1. Rule Of Law: The administration is based on respect for the rule of law and obedience to the provision of the constitution by the elected political leaders.
2. The Elected Leaders Are Accountable: The representatives are responsive and accountable to the electorate under this system.
3. Election Is The Yield Stick: The government is setup through the normal electoral process.
4. Choice Of Leaders: The opportunity is created for the people to choose political leaders without any hindrance.
5. The System Is Simple To Operate: It is easy to identify those responsible for the failure of government.
6. It Makes For Stability: The government in place is legitimate and legally constituted.
7. It Allows For The Participation Of The People: The people are given the opportunity to take part in the decision-making of their country. It makes for an enduring democracy.
Demerits Of Representative Government
1. No True Independence Of The Judiciary: This is because, judiciary may not be under the control of the government in power.
2. Corruption: It makes for corruption practices among the politicians who may want to acquire power at all cost.
3. Rigging Of Election: This is a big threat to a truly defined representative government. The electorate could be denied the choice made.
4. Illiteracy: The inability of some voters to identity party names & symbols may lead to wrong choice of candidates.
5. Costly To Run: Too much money, men etc are needed for a successful conduct of elections of this magnitude.
6. Selfish Interest: The representative may not adequately represent their people or community due to some selfish interest.