613 Words Essay on Elections Foundation of Democracy Or The Benchmark of Elections.
Elections form the foundation of democracy. They are the central institution of democratic representative governments. It is not only legal but also a moral responsibility of a democratic nation to hold free and fair elections. It is true that all modern democracies hold elections. But, at the same time, it is also true that all elections are not democratic. Right-wing dictatorships, communalist, and single-party governments also stage elections to establish their rule. Such parties may represent only one candidate or a list of candidates.
Such circumstances allow no alternative choices to the voter. Though such elections may offer several candidates for each office, it is usually ensured through pressure or supports that only the government approved candidate is chosen. Other elections may offer genuine choices but only within the serving party. These are not democratic elections.
“According to a scholar, Democratic elections are competitive, periodic, comprehensive, definitive elections in which the chief decision-makers in a government are selected by citizens who enjoy broad freedom to criticize government, to publish their criticism and to present alternatives.”
Democratic elections are competitive. The opposition, whether it consists of one party or many, as well as all the candidates in an election must enjoy the freedom of speech, assembly, and the movement necessary to speak their mind. A true democracy allows criticisms of the government.
Democracy also allows all the parties to bring alternative policies and candidates to the voters. Simply permitting all access to the ballot is not enough in a true democracy. A democracy in which all the parties are not allowed a fair use of media to generate awareness in the public regarding their view, agenda etc. certainly cannot be called a democracy.
Moreover, a country where the campaigning rallies of the candidates or the parties other than the ruling one are harassed or where newspapers indulge in yellow journalism, victimizing a particular candidate or a party, also cannot be called democratic. The party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair.
Democratic elections are periodic. A democracy like India holds elections after a specific period of time. In India, polling time is after every five years. Democracies do not elect dictators or presidents-for-life. Even a successfully running government, is required to seek the approval of the common man after its term is over.
Moreover, the elected officials are answerable to the people as that are the same people whose votes hold the power to elect them again or choose a new government. Thus, it is quite obvious that the elected government cannot go on fooling the people with empty promises. The promises made to the common man are to be fulfilled, else the power would slip out of the hands of the government.
Democratic elections are comprehensive. The definition of citizen and voter must be large enough to include a large proportion of the adult population. A government chosen by a small, exclusive group is not a democracy. Thus, all the members of the minorities, irrespective of racial, tribal or religious factors, or women, should be allowed full citizenship with the right to vote.
Democratic elections are definitive. They determine the leadership of the government. The elected representatives rule subject to the laws and constitution of the country.
Democracies flourish in the act of voting itself. To cast a pressure free ballot, voters in a democracy must be permitted to cast their ballots in secret.
Thus, the votes are confidential. At the same time, the protection of the ballot box and tallying of vote, must be conducted as openly as possible, so that citizens are confident that the results are accurate.