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International Consensus: Essential Elements of Democracy

Democracy Reporting International 20714International Consensus: Essential Elements of Democracy
Publié le 01-10-2011. Ajoutée le 25 août 2016

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The demonstrators of the Arab Spring demand democracy in a region that has been ruled by authoritarian regimes for decades. While the demand is clear, it may be less clear what kind of democracy the people demand. Everybody is in favour of transparent, competitive elections. But at the same time many are concerned about tyrannical majorities imposing their view of the state and society on those who are not represented in government.

Questions about the extent and the limits of majority rule are as old as the very concept of democracy itself and there are no hard and fast answers. Indeed, there is no generally accepted concept of what makes a democracy. Academic definitions range from the minimalist (‘competitive struggle for votes’) to the farreaching (including a degree of economic equality or well-being). Looking at states that are considered to be democratic may not be helpful either, because there is a large variety of political systems and practices in them.

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