DEMOCRACY VS MONARCHY
All societies are established under some form of power or government which vary from country to country but they have the same fundamentals.
Monarch comes from the Greek mono, “one” and archon, “single ruler”. Monarch is a nation’s ruler or the head of the state by hereditary right. Monarchy applies to the State where the supreme authority is in the hands of the monarch. The family called the dynasty and it represents the country’s national identity. The monarch’s position is inherited and lasts until death or abdication.
Democracy is the government “of the people, by the people, for people”. Democracy is a method to deal with the differences. It’s a political system with institutions that allow citizens to express their political preferences has a constraint on the power of the executive and provides a guarantee of civil liberties.
“A monarchy conducted with infinite wisdom and infinite benevolence is the most perfect of all possible governments” – Ezra Stiles
“Monarchy is a political referee, not a political player, and there is a lot of sense in choosing the referee by a different principal from the players. It lessens the danger that the referee might try to start playing.” – Conrad Russell
“Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education”. – Franklin Roosevelt
“Democracy is not merely a form of government. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards fellow men”. – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
STATISTICS – What Numbers have to Say?
Many countries still feature some form of monarchy. The title of these monarchs varies as per the countries traditions and language.
Countries with Monarchies
- Andorra is a small landlocked country located on the Iberian Peninsula bordering France and Spain. The Bishop (senior member of Christian clergy) of Urgell and the President of France serve as Andorra’s princes.
- The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf. The country is the Constitutional monarchy led by the king, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa since 1999.
- The Kingdom of Belgium is located in northwestern Europe with a constitutional monarchy form of government. The king, Philippe is the ceremonial head of the state since 2013.
- The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked nation in South Asia that has a constitutional monarchy. Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck is the Dragon King and is the head of state since 2006.
- Brunei is a small country occupying part of the Southeast Asian Island of Borneo. Hassanal Bolkiah is the current sultan, having ascended the throne in 1967. He is also the country’s only Prime Minister since the country became independent in1984 and is thus the head of government.
- The Kingdom of Cambodia is an elective constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. Norodom Sihamoni has been king of the country since 2004.
- The British Royal Family, perhaps the world’s most well-known royals, rules over more than the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning constitutional monarch over 16 commonwealth realms in addition to the U.K. with other 15 independent countries. Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952.
- The Kingdom of Denmark is the Southernmost of the Scandinavian countries and is a constitutional monarchy. Margrethe II is the queen of the country since 1972.
- The Kingdom of eSwatini also known as Swaziland is a small landlocked country in Southern Africa. The country’s government is an absolute diarchy, the nation is jointly ruled by the King and the Queen. In 1986 Mswati III, pictured, became king and Ntfombi became queen.
- Japan is an archipelago nation in East Asia that is a Constitutional Monarchy. Emperor Akihito ascended the throne in 1989 and is the 125th member of the world’s oldest dynasty
- The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a small landlocked Middle Eastern country located along the east bank of the Jordan River. The country is a constitutional monarchy and King Abdullah II has been the nation’s monarch since 1999.
- The Kingdom of Lesotho is a small landlocked country enclaved within South Africa. King Letsie III has reigned since 1996 in a largely ceremonial role.
- The Principality of Liechtenstein is a small country in Western Europe whose form of government is a constitutional monarchy. Prince Hans-Adam II has reigned since 1989.
- The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small landlocked nation in Western Europe.
- Luxembourg is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with one legislative house. While the grand duke appoints the prime minister, his powers are mainly formal. Grand Duke Henri has reigned since 2000.
- Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was crowned the country’s 16th king in January 2019. Malaysia has a unique rotating monarchy system, in which nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns as a king for five-year terms.
- The Principality of Monaco is a microstate located along the French Riviera in Western Europe and is one of a small number of countries where the monarch is active in daily politics. Prince Albert II, son of the late American actress Grace Kelly, has been the head of state of the country since 2005.
- The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy with most of its territory located in Western Europe and with several small island territories in the Caribbean Sea. The monarch of the kingdom is the country’s head of state. King Willem-Alexander ascended the throne in 2013.
- The Kingdom of Norway is a constitutional monarchy located in Northern Europe. King Harald V and Queen Sonja have reigned since 1991
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located on the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East. The nation is an absolute monarchy, with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saudacting as prime minister and head of state since 2015
- The Kingdom of Spain is a parliamentary monarchy primarily occupying part of Europe’s Iberian Peninsula and also including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. King Felipe VI is the current head of state. He ascended to the throne in 2014 following the abdication of his father, King Juan Carlos.
- The Kingdom of Sweden is a constitutional and parliamentary democracy located in Northern Europe. The long history of Swedish monarchs date to the late 10th century and King Carl XVI Gustaf is the current head of state, ascending the throne in 1973.
- The Kingdom of Thailand is located on the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Although it calls itself a constitutional monarchy, the country has a modern history dotted by frequent coups, the latest placing the nation under rule of a de facto military dictatorship. Maha Vajiralongkorn has been king since 2016 and his official coronation takes place May 4-6.
- Vatican City is a city-state located within Rome and the world’s smallest independent state. The government is an absolute elective monarchy run by the Roman Catholic Church, effectively making the pope an elected non-hereditary monarch. Pope Francis was elected into the position in 2013
- Despite global concerns about democracy, more than half of countries are democratic. Public support for democratic ideals remains strong. At the end of the year 2017, 96 out of 167 countries with populations of at least 5,00,000 (57%) were democracies of some kind, and only 21 (13%) were autocracies. Nearly four dozen other countries 46 (28%) exhibited elements of both democracy and autocracy. The share of democracies among the world’s government has been on an upward trend since the mid-1970s.
DESCRIPTION – Let’s take a Deep Dive
What is Monarchy?
A monarchy is a system of government where the head of the state or the leader of the country is the monarch. These monarchs are not elected they base their reign on bloodline, known as a hereditary rule.
Monarchy comes in several forms:
An absolute monarchy is where the monarch is the supreme head of the country and holds supreme authority over any other institution. This type of monarchy existed in the past but some also exist today.
What is Constitutional Monarchy and Elective Monarchy?
- A constitutional monarchy is where the power of the monarch is significantly limited and true national sovereignty is likely to lie with the elected government.
- An elective monarchy is where the monarch is actually elected by the people for a specific term, most often as their head of state.
What is Democracy?
Democracy is the system of the government by the whole population or all the whole population who all are the eligible members of the state through elected representatives. In Democracy consists of four keys:
- A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections,
- The active participation of the people as citizens, in politics and civic life.
- Protection of the human rights of all citizens
- A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.
What are the types of Democracy?
There are various forms of democracy:
- Direct democracy in which people vote on the laws and decisions instead of simply electing the representatives of the parties who then decide the government stuff.
- Indirect or representative democracy that exists today in the majority of countries. Here the people elect representatives from the political parties who then make the laws and propose it in parliament.
- Elected dictatorship in which people elect a dictator or a king to rule the country for the long period of time or until he is incapable of ruling efficiently.
Monarchy Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of Monarchy
- Monarchy possesses simplicity and it’s adapted to prompt and energetic action to a consistent and continuous policy.
- It secures strength and unity in administration since officials are responsible for a single head and can be held to strict accountability.
- Since the king stands above all parties and classes, he is able to rule impartially for the best interest of the state as a whole.
- Monarchy was well suited to the needs of the early state when it was necessary to impress discipline and habits of obedience on uncivilized peoples when political systems were not yet developed.
- It can be cheaper to run monarchy than the recurring charges of frequent elections.
Disadvantages of Monarchy
- In a monarchy, if the office rule is hereditary, there is no guarantee that a capable person will succeed to the office.
- If the king is the source of the law there is no guarantee that he will obey his own law if it is to advantage to break it.
- Independent justice is not present unless it is specifically built into the government.
- Class discrimination is more prominent.
Democracy Advantages and disadvantages
Advantages of Democracy
- A democratic government responds to the needs of the people and the decisions taken are through the discussions which thus improve the quality of decision making.
- Democracy promotes equality and the protection of people’s rights.
- Democracy provides for changes in government without violence forming a stable government.
- The government is bound by an election term after which it has to compete with other parties to regain authority this prevents monopoly.
- People gain a sense of participation in the process of choosing their government.
Disadvantages of Democracy
- Democracy takes longer decisions to take and implement.
- A lot of expenditure is made on elections which lead to wastage of resources and money.
- Election campaigns involve immoral practices.
- In a direct democracy, all citizens aren’t knowledgeable enough to take right decisions.
- In a representative democracy, citizens are not completely accountable for policy decisions as they are made by the elected representatives.
- Those with power may engage in corruption practices.
No political system is ‘better’ than another. It’s more the people that implement the system that make it good or bad. Any power in any modern nation should be put in the hands of someone who is accountable to the people of the nation and the laws of the land. The governance should have checks and balances and must be transparent as much as possible.
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Author – Riddhi Pansare