Exam Focus: the basic principles of representative government
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Exam focus – Keypoint on the basic principles of representative government, political participation, political aparty, constitutionalism, Centralization
This is a system of government in which the people through election elect those who will represent and govern the state on their behalf
Features of representative government
Free and fair election
Separation of powers
Means of guaranteeing people’s right
An independent electoral body
Existence of opposition party
Respect of minority groups.
Means and conditions for the establishment of representative government
Organized party system
Recognition of opposition
A written constitution
An independent judiciary
Establishment of the electoral system
Establishment of universal franchise
Rule of law
Establishment of fundamental human right.
Merits of representative government
It provide the people the opportunity to participate in government.
It ensure the election of government of the people- democracy.
It applies the principle of check and balances.
It prevent tyranny and oppression.
It gives the people sense of identity and belonging to the government.
Representative government tends to be stable.
It applies the principle of rule of law.
Demerits of representative government
The representative are imposed on the electorates by political parties.
The representatives tends to represent the interest of the political parties.
Election malpractice help to twist the choice of the people.
Representative’s government breed corruption.
The dirty politics associated with representative government scare away intelligent and honest people.
Representative government is expensive to run.
Slow decision making is involved in representative government.
It leads to election of the minority candidates.
It is the voluntary involvement of the people in the political activities of their country.
Forms of political participation
Belonging to political parties
Contesting in election
Acting as polling agents
As a voter
Sponsoring of political parties
Holding of public offices
The purpose of political participation
As a political animal
As a status symbol
Desire fir friendship
For economic and material gains
For equitable distribution of resources
The need for self actualization
To right the wrong of those in power
To take part in the decision making.
This refers to the degree to which citizens show no interest in the political activities of their country. It is the direct opposite of political participation.
Factors that cause political aparty
The nature of politics played
Racial or tribal segregation
The type of party system adopted.
Ways by which political participation can be enhanced and political aparty discouraged
Multi- party system
Universal adult suffrage
Rule of law
Equal political opportunities
Adequate political education
Recognition of opportunities
The term centralization refers to a system of governmental administration in which power is concentrated on one single central authority. Unitary States like: Britain, Italy, France etc. are examples.
Factors or condition that gives rise to the adoption of centralization of powers
Size of the country
Absence of minority groups
Absence of tribal difference
Lack of fear of domination
Common language and culture
Lack of marked economic inequalities
Strong loyalty to the central government.
Merits and demerit of centralization
Those merits and demerits of unitary system of government discussed in Chapter 4 can also apply for centralization
The term decentralization refers to a system of governmental administration in which powers are not concentrated in a single central authority but shared among component, regional and local unit or state distinct from the central government. Federal state are: USA, Nigeria, Germany etc are example
Forms of decentralization
Devolution: This is a system of administration in which semi-autonomous regional government are created with defined powers and functions but subordinate to the central authority.
De-concentration: This refers to a system of administration in which powers are shared in such a a way that the component state are not directly subordinate to the central authority.
Reasons for the adoption of decentralization
Fear of domination
The size of the country
To expand local market
For security reasons
Desire for union
The absence of marked inequalities
Protection of the interest of the minority groups
For rapid and even development
To bring government nearer to the people
For easy and effective government
To create more employment
For diverse laws to be made
Preservation of local independence or autonomy.
Merits and demerits of decentralization
Those advantages and disadvantages of federalism discussed in chapter 4 can equally be taken as merits and demerits of decentralization
The term constitutionalism means that the powers of government should be defined and limited by the dictate of the body of the fundamental laws of the land known as a constitution. The principle of constitutionalism is not constitution itself but limits government and individual actions and activities according to constitutional restraints.