Types of Government
Democracy is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives to form a governing body, such as a parliament. Hence, sometimes it is referred to as rule of the majority. India, the US, the UK, France, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Japan etc. are the democratic countries.
The democracy consists of four key elements:
- A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
- The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
- Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
- A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
Let’s look at some other features of democracy:
- Popular sovereignty
- Political freedom & equality
- Protection of minority rights
- Independence of judiciary
- Presence of civil & socio -economic rights
- Legal equality & rule of law etc.
Dictatorship is a form of government where a country is ruled by one person or political entity, and exercised through various mechanisms to ensure that the entity’s power remains strong. Therefore, Nazi Germany, Soviet Union under Stalin’s rule, Napoleonic France, Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, North Korea under Kim Jong-II & Kim II Sung, Zimbabwe under Robert Muga be, Uganda under Idi Amin etc. are some examples of the dictatorship.
- It comes into existence by force.
- Nearly every aspect of the public and private behavior of citizens is regulated.
- Such systems generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems.
- It is characterized by arbitrary, unaccountable & irresponsible role of the dictator.
- The distinction between the state & the government is absent.
A monarchy is a form of government in which a group, usually a family called the dynasty, embodies the country’s national identity and one of its members, called the monarch, exercises a role of sovereignty. Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Morocco etc. have Monarchical form of political system.
- The actual power of the monarch may vary from purely symbolic , to partial and restricted, to completely autocratic. The UK is a Constitutional Monarchy;whereas the King of Saudi Arabia is an absolute Monarch. The monarchs of Cambodia, Japan, and Malaysia“reign, but do not rule”although there is considerable variation in the degree of authority they wield.
- Traditionally and in most cases, the monarch’s post is inherited and lasts until death or abdication, but there are also elective monarchies where the monarch is elected.
It is a form of government in which God or a deity is recognized as the king or immediate ruler. His laws are taken as the statute- book of the kingdom, these laws being usually administered by a priestly order as his ministers and agents. Hence, it is a system of government by a sacerdotal order, claiming a divine commission. The Holy See (Vatican City), Iran, Saudi Arabia, Central Tibetan Administration etc. are the examples of theocracies.
- In a pure theocracy, the civil leader is believed to have a personal connection with the civilization’s religion or belief. For example, Moses led the Israelites, and Muhammad led the early Muslims.
- An ecclesiocracy is a situation where the religious leaders assume a leading role in the state, but do not claim that they are instruments of divine revelation. The papacy in the Papal States occupied a middle ground between theocracy and ecclesiocracy, since the pope did not claim he was a prophet who received revelation from God and translated it into civil law.
- While secular governments have some aspects of life that are not influenced by religion, theocratic governments seek guidance from higher powers to cover all aspects of life, including law, punishment, education and marriage.
Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible, without any respect for human rights. In an authoritarian regime a single power holder an individual dictator, a committee or a small group of political elite monopolizes political power. The authoritarian state is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contest edit gives society a certain degree of liberty. In contrast,a totalitarian regime attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life,including the economy, education, art, science, private life, and morals of citizens. The totalitarian government seeks to completely control the thoughts and actions of its citizens. It also mobilizes the whole population in pursuit of its goals. The Nazi Germany, USSR under Joseph Stalin, China under Mao,North Korea are examples of the totalitarian states.
- A distinctive feature of totalitarian governments is an elaborate ideology, a set of ideas that gives meaning and direction to the whole society, often involving a one-party state, a dictator and a personality cult.
- Totalitarian regimes stay in political power through such techniques as propaganda, state control of the mass media, educational system, economy, political repression, capital punishment, restriction of speech, and mass surveillance.
A republic is a sovereign state or country organized with a form of government where power resides in elected individuals representing the citizen body. Therefore, government leaders exercise power according to the rule of law. In modern sense, the term republic is commonly referred to a government which excludes a monarch. The term ‘republic’ in our Constitution hence, indicates that India has an elected head called the President. He is elected in directly for a fixed period of five years. Ancient Athens, Sparta, Roman Republic, Mahajanpadas in Ancient India, the US, France, Islamic Republic of Iran are some of the examples of the republic states.
- In the republican form of government, the political sovereignty is vested in the people and not in a single individual like a king.
- All the public offices are open to every citizen without any discrimination & there is absence of any privileged class.
Anarchism advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies. It can be taken as institutions based on non hierarchical free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.
In most cases, a communist state is based on the ideology of communism as taught by Marx and/or Lenin. However, some argue that these political systems are not true to the ideals espoused by these revolutionary thinkers. Communist states are often dominated by a single party, or a group of people. A planned economy is often part of the governing class, and in many cases resources are taken and then redistributed to others. Sometimes communists call themselves “workers’ states” or “socialist,” but there are very real differences in their operation. In a lot of cases, citizens are required to do certain jobs and live in a certain way. Communism is often considered an authoritarian political system.