A definition

The word democracy has its origins from the Greek: demokratia, made up of demos, "people", and kratos, "power". We are talking about the power of the people, the government of the people.


Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States from 1860 to 1865, allegedly once declared that democracy was "the government of the people, by the people and for the people"1 . According to this principle, sovereignty therefore belongs to the people, who choose those who will govern it.

Direct democracy
Democracy is direct when the citizens, assembled in assembly, directly exercise their power by taking, for example, decisions by show of hands2 .

Representative democracy
Democracy is representative , when citizens choose representatives to exercise power on their behalf.

This is the case of Quebec parliamentarian: the voters of the 125 constituencies elect for each of them a deputy who will act on their behalf in the National Assembly.

Western democracies and how they work
In most Western democracies, the rulers are chosen by free elections which respect 3 conditions:

The free adhesion of a candidate to a party of his choice
universal suffrage (men and women can vote and each individual has one vote)
free and secret ballot.

The exercise of power is done by the elected members of the majority party, who form the government, and who have the legitimacy to govern. The opposition, represented by elected officials who do not form the government, has the freedom to criticize the government, monitor its actions and propose alternative solutions4 .

This operation is based on a social consensus: citizens must share the values ​​of freedom, equality, good citizenship and respect for individual rights, guaranteed by socially accepted moral and legal provisions (respect for the laws, for example).

The status of citizen is also to be considered: at other times and in other places, few people were considered to be citizens. In Quebec, before 1940, women were not considered full citizens because they did not have the right to vote in provincial elections .

Author's Bio: 

Waqas ALi