Democratic and anti-democratic political regimes: what is the difference?
Most of us when trying to define the term “political regimes” will face a problem: in general, this term is familiar to us, but it is difficult to interpret its meaning. Therefore, in our article we decided to tell what the political regimes are and what they are like.
Definition of term
The concept of a political regime was introduced into the lexicon of political scientists in the second half of the twentieth century, although attempts to describe and classify them were undertaken by Plato and Aristotle.
Modern political science, based on the research of M. Duverger, J.-L. Kermonna, G. O’Donnell and F. Schmitter, interprets political regimes as forms of political governance, differing among themselves in:
- measure of participation of citizens of the state in its management. In Ukraine, the people have the right to elect deputies of all levels, including the main legislative body - the Verkhovna Rada.But the population of Brunei cannot boast of such a privilege: the country is ruled by a monarch - the sultan, who inherits power;
- methods and ways of organizing political power. For example, the rule of Pinochet in Chile was based on military dictatorship and repression, the very opposite of which is Sweden, which is governed by a parliament elected by universal suffrage;
- legal status of the individual. There are states where equal rights are secured for all citizens. These include Germany, Great Britain, France, Sweden, etc. However, there are also countries in which the rights of certain races and ethnic groups are violated. Recall the apartheid regime in South Africa, in which blacks were oppressed, or the Third Reich, which persecuted Jews and Gypsies.
So, we can conclude: political regimes are a combination of methods, forms, and methods of organizing power. In a narrow sense, a political regime is understood as a state political regime, that is, a political structure of a single state.
Political scientists divide political regimes into two categories:
- Democratic, when the power is in the hands of the people, or it has the ability to influence it.
- Non-democratic (anti-democratic) - in this case, the power of one class / party / person is established.
Now we will consider both categories in more detail.
Types of democratic regimes
Democracy, which is also called democracy by the people, allows the people to elect the governing bodies themselves and proclaims the equal rights of all citizens. Depending on the form and degree of participation of the people in the formation of power, the democratic political regime is divided into 3 types:
- direct democracy, when any member of society can take part in the discussion and government decisions. This form of government existed in ancient Athens, where all government issues were decided at public meetings, which were attended by 5-6 thousand people.
Nowadays, such forms of the political regime are practically not encountered, since in modern society they are ineffective. Imagine if all citizens of the country participated in the adoption of laws and in the resolution of foreign policy issues. Even applying IT technologies, conducting daily general voting and discussions would take a lot of time and would not always be productive;
- Plebiscite democracy involves the participation of the people in government only at a certain stage, for example, during referenda or elections. This form of management is practiced often. For example, many countries held referendums before joining the European Union in order to get the opinion of citizens and make the right decision;
- representative democracy, in the course of which the people are vested with the right to elect their representatives to the authorities. In the USA it is the lower house of Congress, in Great Britain it is the House of Commons, in Russia it is the State Duma, in Ukraine it is the Verkhovna Rada.
The last two forms of the political regime are used in many countries, but Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and New Zealand are considered to be the most democratic, according to a rating compiled by independent experts who evaluated the legal freedom and protection of citizens.
Types of undemocratic regimes
Anti-democratic regimes deny all principles of democracy and are based on the suppression of individual rights and freedoms. Such political regimes became widespread in the Middle Ages and dominated until the twentieth century,when the world began an active social movement for human rights.
Scientists identify 2 types of anti-democratic regimes:
Authoritarian political regime
The basis of authoritarianism is virtually unlimited power of one person or group of people. Some civil, economic and spiritual freedoms are preserved, but strictly limited by the state.
Examples of the authoritarian regime are the military junta in Argentina, apartheid in South Africa, the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
Totalitarian political regime
Totalitarianism can be considered as the highest degree of authoritarianism. In states with a totalitarian political regime, official ideology necessarily exists and other ideological trends are not allowed, the state fully controls all spheres of human life, power is not formed from bottom to top, as in democracy, but from top to bottom, by appointment.
Totalitarian political regimes existed in Germany during Hitler’s rule, in Spain under Mussolini, in the USSR in the Stalin era.
When political regimes of power are absent, in other words, there is anarchy and lawlessness in the country, such a situation is called anarchy.
Political regime - a form of government?
Often political regimes are confused with such a concept as a form of government. It is impossible to identify these concepts, since the political regime reflects the structure of the state as a whole, and the form of government - the organization of higher authorities. Among the forms of government distinguish the monarchy and the republic. The first often exists within the framework of totalitarian and authoritarian political regimes, the second - democratic ones.
Want to know the opinion of Americans about their political regime? Watch the video: