Monday, September 14, 2015

International Day of Democracy

By Anton Antonio
September 15, 2015

Today, September 15, 2015, we celebrate the International Day of Democracy.  This tradition started in 2007 when the United Nations General Assembly resolved to observe the 15th of September as International Day of Democracy.  This was enacted by the UN to create awareness on democracy as a governance principle which the UN itself uses. 

But what is democracy?  The term “democracy” comes from the Greek word “demokratia” which means “rule of the people.”  Democracy is a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state through popularly elected representatives.  Democracy is an exercise that involves consultation, participation and inclusion of all legitimate citizens of a country.  It is said that a democratic exercise makes everyone equal as each and every citizen is vested the right to only one vote regardless of creed, social status, religion and other societal compartments.  And majority rule prevails.

“Democracy, or democratic government, is “a system of government in which all the people of a state or polity… are involved in making decisions about its affairs, typically by voting to elect representatives to a parliament or similar assembly,” as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary.  Democracy is further defined as (a) “government by the people; especially: rule of the majority; and, (b) “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”  According to political scientist Larry Diamond, it consists of four key elements: (1) A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections. (2) The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life. (3) Protection of the human rights of all citizens. And (4) A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply to all citizens.” (Wikipedia)

Out of the four key elements that Larry Diamond mentioned, I believe in the supreme importance of “free and fair elections”.  The exclusive nature of Philippine-style democracy and elections has so far failed to produce only the best and the brightest leaders.  The elections of 2016 --- Monday, the 9th of May --- is just around the corner.  Perhaps, this is something for all of us to seriously think about today… the International Day of Democracy.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

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Wikipedia. “Democracy”.  Retrieved on September 15, 2015 from

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