Types of Democracy explained

len Alfred Ajibola - Sat, 24th August, 2019 @ 3:23 PM

Topics in Government

Functions of the executive arm of government Facts on Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy One-party system explained with its advantages and disadvantages What is Democracy? Definitions of Democracy Types of Government Functions of the Legislature and Judiciary Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, First Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Second Term Scheme of Work for Government, SS1, Third Term Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Multi-Party System Concept, Advantages and Disadvantages of Two-Party System What are pressure groups? Types of pressure group Characteristics of Pressure Group Types of Constitution Scope of Government Characteristics of Government Importance of Government One-party system explained with its types and characteristics Multi-party system explained with its characteristics Party System: Zero Party System

Academic Questions in Government

Please click here to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following is not a function of government?

  • A. Government provides all the jobs in the country they govern

  • B. Government empowers the less privilege and the physically challenged

  • C. Government provides a support system for the aged

  • D. Government provides infrastructure for her citizens

  • E. Government maintains external relations with other countries

  • F. Government generates revenue for the country they govern

In government, a type of one-party system whereby a single party is officially and legally recognized in a country or state is termed a _____.

  • A. Hegemonic Party

  • B. Pre-Dominant Party

  • C. Dominant Party

  • D. True Single-State

  • E. Unique-Ordered State

  • F. State-Exclusive Party

Which of the following is not a characteristic of the multi-party system?

  • A. There is an existence of several parties differing in principles and fundamentals.

  • B. The political parties are legally recognized.

  • C. It is democratic in nature.

  • D. Among the various parties, only one dominates the political landscape.

  • E. Some of the opposition parties can become politically insignificant.

  • F. It promotes the coalition of governments.

In a two-party system,  only 2 political parties are present in countries where they are practised.

  • A. True

  • B. False

On February 25, 2023; Nigeria as a country had its presidential election. The party system involved in this election is the _____.

  • A. Zero Party System

  • B. One-Party System

  • C. Two-Party System

  • D. Multi-Party System

  • E. APC, PDP and LP Party System

  • F. Coalition Party System

The following countries practice a zero party system except _____.

  • A. Cambodia

  • B. Vatican City

  • C. Bahrain

  • D. Saudi Arabia

  • E. Oman

  • F. Kuwait

Which of the following is not a characteristic of the two-party system?

  • A. It is democratic in nature

  • B. There isn't a third party

  • C. The two parties are always dominant in the political terrain

  • D. The president must emerge from one of both parties

  • E. It encourages freedom of expression at the press

  • F. It presents a choice of candidates to the people

A type of democracy whereby shura is practiced is termed _____ democracy

  • A. Direct

  • B. Indirect

  • C. Constitutional

  • D. Islamic

  • E. Authoritarian

  • F. Participatory

Types of Democracy

Types of democracy may also be referred to as 'forms of democracy'. Meanwhile, recall that democracy is considered as one of the forms of government. Basically, it focuses more on the people comprising a nation. These people whom are 18 years and above are eligible to vote and be voted for.

Please read the introduction to democracy and its concepts here.

The term 'types or forms of democracy' refers to the various ways through which democracy can exist in a state or country. In this regard, democracy can take a variety of instance depending on the nation’s geopolitical terrain, ideology or history, thus giving rise to the different types/forms of democracy.

Below are explanations on the various forms (or types) of democracy:

1. Direct Democracy

Direct democracy empowers the citizens so that they can become an active and vital part in any decision making process of the country.

For a bill to be passed into law, the vote of the people will be required in a direct democracy. They do not need any form of representatives (for instance, the lawmakers or legislature or the upper and lower houses) to vote on such bill.

In some cases, the people practicing direct democracy could raise up important issues which the government must look into. The people eventually vote on such issues, and based on the outcome, it may be passed into law.

Direct democracy is not feasible in a large society as we have in modern times.

Also, when the people are of different tribes or ethnicity, it becomes difficult to achieve.

Please read on the characteristics, functions and importance of government here.

Once upon a time, direct democracy was practiced in the ancient Greek cities of Sparta and Athens. Also, Switzerland has a good history of direct democracy. To this day, certain parts of the country (Switzerland) still practice this kind of democracy.

Ideally, direct democracy is practiced in villages or rural areas consisting of a specific tribe. It is also practiced in a small and homogenous states; that is, a state where the people share a common origin. For this reason, those involved in direct democracy will typically share the same culture and speak similar languages.

You can read on values here.

Note: Size is a limiting factor when practicing direct democracy.


2. Representative Democracy

Also called indirect democracy, representative democracy requires that the citizens elect or vote in those that will represent or govern the state on their behalf.

Indirect democracy is the most common of all democracy forms or types since it is quite impossible for everyone in a state to frequently convene at a place in order to make (or take) decisions on their state.

Representative democracy gives the people an opportunity to choose the most qualified sets of persons to represent the state. The chosen representatives are able to present the grievances and sufferings of their state and its people in a more effective and convincing manner.

Note: The representatives are normally elected to serve periodically through the voting system. For instance, they may be voted in to serve their state for four years.

Please read on gender equality here.

A representative democracy can become disadvantageous when the voted representatives fail to deliver their mandate on their state and people. In this case, they put themselves and their families first by embezzling the funds meant for the development of the state and its people.

You can read on the disadvantages of money here.

Countries like Nigeria, USA, India and France all practice indirect or representative democracy.


3. Authoritarian Democracy

In an authoritarian democracy, only the elites (educated and rich) are allowed to be voted for. Ordinary people and the masses cannot contest for electoral positions and thus, have no chance to become political leaders.

Russia and Hong Kong are sometimes considered to run an authoritarian democracy.

Please read on autocracy and other forms of government here.


4. Constitutional Democracy

A constitutional democracy utilizes the constitution in determining the right to rule.

Under this system, the constitution defines democracy and powers of the government. It also spells out how such government must operate. This is so because the rule of law which is based on the rights of the people is taken from the constitution.

By definition, a constitution is the supreme law in a country, nation or state. It specifies how the nation or state should be governed; while also attributing power to the different arms of government.

Please read more on constitution here.

We have three arms, organs or branches of government. These are:

  1. Executive

  2. Judiciary

  3. Legislature

  4. Please read more on the arms of government here.

Meanwhile, understand that constitutional democracy appropriately allocate the powers and responsibilities of the presidents, governors, senators, ministers, legislatures and other government representatives. It is practiced in the United States of America, Nigeria and Ghana.


5. Participatory Democracy

Participatory democracy presents an opportunity for each citizen of a country or state to be a part of the decision making process.

To achieve this, the governance of the state is usually broken down into small communities, thus giving a rise to grassroot politics.

Please read on the branches, scope and divisions of government here.

Participatory democracy can be quite difficult to achieve since the number of grassroot communities can become overtly large, giving rise to complexities and complications.

Participatory democracy is sometimes considered as an opposite to authoritarian democracy.


6. Islamic Democracy

The islamic law serves as the cornerstone to which Islamic democracy is laid.

This type/form of democracy has three main features. These are:

  1. The leaders are elected by the people through a voting system.
  2. Sharia law becomes a standard which the leaders as well as the followers must abide to.
  3. The leader indulges in a special form of consultation practiced by prophet Muhammad. This practice is called shura.

Countries that practice an ideal islamic democracy include Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

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Amazing facts in Government

White House in Washington has 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms while Buckingham Palace in London has 775 rooms, including 78 bathrooms

Three United States presidents; John Adams (2nd US president), Thomas Jefferson (3rd US president), and James Monroe (5th US president) died on the 4th of July.

Coincidentally, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson also died the same year, and that's 1826.

Abraham Lincoln, the great human emancipator, freedom fighter and 16th American president was popular for the saying:

Government of the people, by the people and for the people

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America was a professional wrestler before he assumed the office of the American President. Interestingly, he was only defeated once in his wrestling career

Notable points in Government

Ecclesiocracy is a form of government whereby religious leaders are recognized as the first citizens of a state.

The religious leaders in ecclesiocracy do not proclaim themselves as a direct instrument of divine revelation concerning laws governing the society.

A typical example of ecclesiocracy is seen in Vatican City where the pope presides as the leader of the state. However, the pope does not claim to receive direct revelation from God concerning civil laws.

The grand Ayatollah of Iran (Ali Khamenei) and president of Sudan, Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir are also considered as instances of leaders in ecclesiocracy.

It is worthy of note to state that the laws and rules governing the land in ecclesiocracy are based on religious beliefs, thus making it somewhat related to theocracy.

One of the duties of the government is to make laws that govern the society. Without laws, some of the rich may oppress the poor. Similarly, some of the highly placed in the society may end up oppressing the weak without being brought to justice.

The absence of government in a society, country, nation, state or community is referred to as anarchy.

An instance of anarchy occurred in Somalia in 1991 after a dictator name Said Barre was overthrown. This made Somalia disintegrate into fractions with local warlords imposing their authority over their land.

Please read on the forms of government here

Below are some of the functions of government:

  • It is the role of the government to protect and defend the fundamental human rights of her citizens.

  • The government maintains law and order through the law enforcement agencies. These will include the police, customs officers and other local securities.

  • It is the duty of the government to generate revenue. This can be achieved through foreign trade.

  • It is the responsibility of the government to maintain external relations with other countries. For this reason, the president may visit other countries for business and bilateral trade purposes. Similarly, other presidents may visit your country in this regard.

  • Please read on the functions of government here

Government can be defined under the following headings:

1. As an institution of a state.

Government is defined as an institution, agency, machinery or instrument that is established to manage the affairs of general welfare of the people making up a state or country


2. As a process or as an act of governing.

Government is defined as the processes and methods involved in the formulation, administration and implementation of public policies from a procedure which had been specifically spelt out in the constitution of a country or state


3. As an academic field of study.

Government is defined as the study of institutions, theories, ideas, values and doctrines as relating to the acquisition and use of political power for the welfare of the people

Please read more on the definitions of government here

End Sars - Len Academy

The End Sars is considered a pressure group in Nigeria. It campaigned in the interest of Nigerian youths, thus forcing the Nigerian government into scrapping the Special Anti-Robbery Squard (SARS) who had constantly brutalized Nigerians, especially the youths; through extortion, indiscriminate shootings, threats and other violent conducts.

Unfortunately, some Nigerian youths paid the ultimate price with their lives at the Lekki tollgate massacre. This happened on the 20th day of October, 2020.

Burna Boy, a Nigerian musician made a song titled '20 : 10 : 20' in this regard.

Please read on pressure groups in Nigeria here