Democracy (I)

30Jan09

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According to the principles of democracy, government derives its mandate from the sovereign power of its citizens. Citizens of any democracy are sovereign and equal heirs to their sovereignty which no one can bestow on or deny another. In a democratic political framework, we elect representatives and lend our sovereignty through a social contract to them to govern the nation with diligence, transparency and accountability. That’s the idea anyway. It is the duty of citizens to elect competent and honest individuals as their representatives. Once elected, our representatives need the collective support of citizens to govern effectively and therefore citizens owe it to their elected leaders to be cooperative wherever necessary for the common good. However, it does not serve citizens of any country to espouse an unquestioning acceptance of officialdom.

Elected representatives derive power and influence through the exercise of the sovereignty of citizens and there is a common responsibility to ensure that this power and influence is not abused in a way that is detrimental to any individual citizen or to all citizens collectively. That is why the powers of government as well as the freedoms and individual liberties of citizens are regulated and safeguarded by the rule of law. For the rule of law to be effective, all citizens including elected representatives must be equally subject to it. One of the most important functions of government therefore is to make just and enforcable laws, enforce them uniformly and adjudicate fairly based on those laws or their guiding principles where the law itself is unclear or open for interpretation.

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