Categories for Democracy

The March on Washington Essay

The March on Washington Essay

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom occurred in Washington D.C on the 28th of August, 1963. Attended by some 250,000 people, it was the largest demonstration ever seen in the nation’s capital, and one of the first to have extensive television coverage.( Source 3) The march started because of employment discrimination against African-Americans who were forced into lower paying positions, Labor leaders and elder statesmen’s of the civil rights movement A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin had initially planned a march in 1941.

Directors of the Major Civil Rights Organization went to work on behalf of the proposed legislation. In the political sense, the march was organized by coalition of organizations and their leaders including: Randolph who was chosen as the titular head of the march, James Farmer (president of the Congress of Racial Equality ), John Lewis ( chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) , Martin Luther King, Jr. (president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Roy Wilkins (president of the NAACP), Whitney Young (president of the National Urban League).

( Source 3) They determined that the most efficient strategy would be a public show of support in the nation’s capital. In the spring of 1963, Randolph revived his proposal on the march. The “March for Jobs and Freedom,” as it was called, demanded desegregation of public facilities, as end to discrimination and employment, decent housing, and education, and the right to vote. The march won endorsement of every major civil rights organization. ( Englebert Pg 80) However, the plan had one flaw, and President Kennedy addressed it. President Kennedy requested thirty civil rights leaders for a conference at the White House, and tried to persuade them out of the march, because Kennedy thought the march would harm the chances of passage of his civil rights bill; he also feared that the demonstration could turn brutal.

Since there were already African-Americans holding demonstrations across America, he responded to President Kennedy by saying this “If they are bound to be in the streets in any case,” said Randolph, “ is it not better that they be led by organizations decided to civil rights and disciplined by struggle rather than leave them to other leaders who care neither about civil rights nor about nonviolence?” A. Philip Randolph ( Engleberts Pg 80) Even though President Kennedy was still undecided about their plan of a national march, President Kennedy commanded officials of administration to support the March organizers.

The march started at the Washington Monument and finished at the Lincoln Memorial with a program of music and speakers. The march unsuccessfully started on time because the leaders were meeting with the members of Congress. By surprise to the leaders, the assembled group started to march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial without them. The 1963 March also spurred anniversary marches that occur every five years, with the 20th and 25th being some of the most well known. The 25th Anniversary theme was “We Still have a Dream…Jobs*Peace*Freedom.” ( Source 2)

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Englebert, Phillis, American civil rights almanac- Volume 1. 1999, Boston. 2.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_on_Washington_for_Jobs_and_Freedom 3.http://www.infoplease.com/spot/marchonwashington.html

4. http://uquoted.com/the-march-on-washington-affirmed-our-values-as-a-people-equality-and-opportunity-for-all-forty-one-years-ago-during-a-time-of-segregation-these-were-an-ideal/

Monarchial constitution Essay

Monarchial constitution Essay

Under the monarchial constitution of the United Kingdom (UK), the majority of prerogative powers are now exercised by the government in the name of the Crown. There are two principle definitions of Royal Prerogative (RP); that of Sir William Blackstone and that of Professor A. V. Dicey. According to Dicey, RP is defined as the residue of arbitrary or discretionary authority, which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the Crown.

RP has several defining characteristics – RP is inherent to the Crown, derived from common law, exercised by the government on behalf of the crown, the powers are residual and RP legitimises government actions without the need for an Act of Parliament (AOP).

Before the 17th century, the monarch had all three powers, the legislative, executive and judicial powers. The judiciary started gaining independence since the Case of Prohibitions 1607 and was fully independent after the Act of Settlement 1700, which effectively removed the power of the monarch to remove a judge at will.

The independence of the legislature started with the Case of Proclamation 1611 and culminated in the Bill of Rights 1689, which curbed future arbitrary behaviour of the monarch and guaranteed Parliament’s power vis a vis the Crown. With these changes made to the UK constitution and as support grew for a democratic government, RP seemed out of place in the hands of the monarch and was slowly transferred into the hands of the government to be used in the name of the Crown.

It is possible for RP to be codified i.e incorporated into an AOP, as can be seen from the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRGA). The CRGA codified several RPs, such as the RP to ratify treaties. The codification of RP meant that it would be under Parliamentary control and not the Executive. In the UK today, the UK government makes certain decisions based on the RP if they are not covered under any statutes. However, there have been several cases regarding the use of RP brought to the courts, spearheaded by Darnels case as well as the Case of Ship Money.

The fact that these cases could be judged by the courts showed that the government (on behalf of the monarch) could exercise the prerogative power granted by the courts. Therefore, the courts have the power to determine whether that prerogative power exists and the extent of the power exercised by the government. Codifying the RP ensures that courts would not have the power to determine its existence, as they are unable to determine the validity of an AOP, as directed by Lord Reid in Pickin v British Railways Board.

It would also prevent conflicts with statutes, as well as promote greater certainty and accessibility in the law. However, codifying the RP would make it more rigid, which may affect the reflexes of the government in responding to situations which are time-sensitive. Nevertheless, the current practice of the UK government with regards to such RP would be to consult Parliament first. Thus, it would be desirable to codify the RP. The RP has always been a part of common law in the UK Constitution. In the Case of Proclamation 1611, then King James I declared two royal proclamations without the consent of Parliament.

When the case was brought before the court, Lord Coke held that ‘the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him’, meaning that the King could only exercise the prerogative power granted by the courts. Following the judgment, there were several cases which involved the use of the RP which the courts upheld. In Darnels case, the Defendant was imprisoned due to a warrant issued from the King in which there was no reason for the imprisonment. The court held that the arrest was valid as this was the exercise of the monarch’s prerogative power to arrest.

The Case of Ship Money also exemplified how the court could decide if use of RP was legitimate. Hampden had refused to pay taxes to the King, upon his RP to raise revenue in an emergency situation. The court subsequently upheld the power of the Crown. Lastly, the judgment in Lord Advocate v University of Aberdeen upheld the RP that things lost, abandoned or ownerless belongs to the Crown. However, the courts have also held several decisions which restricted the RP. In BBC v Johns, BBC claimed there was a prerogative to grant immunity to them so as to avoid paying taxes.

This case was famous for the dictum of Lord Diplock who stated that it is “350 years and a civil war too late for the Queen’s courts to broaden the prerogative”. Some feel that the exercise of prerogative powers was outside judicial review. Lord Devlin (in Chandler v DPP) agreed, but in his obiter statement stated that the courts will not review the proper exercise of discretionary power but they will intervene to correct excess or abuse. Despite this, not all prerogative powers are subjected to judicial review, the reviewability is dependent on its subject matter and not the source of power.

In the GCHQ case, Lord Roskill mentioned that “Prerogative powers such as those relating to the making of treaties, the defence of the realm, the prerogative of mercy… are not, I think, subjected to judicial review because of their nature and subject matter is such as not to be amendable to the judicial process”. Thus, with RPs, courts would have the ability to judge whether they are implemented legitimately or not, dependent on the scope of the prerogative in question, but in the case regarding AOP, courts would not be able to question its validity, as stated by Lord Reid in Pickin (as above).

This would be desirable as it would smoothen the relations between the Judiciary and Executive, with fewer conflicts between them. There are also situations whereby RP will be in conflict with statutes. As such, the Crown would not be able to exercise the prerogative power due to the doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty. In AG v De Keysers Royal Hotel, the Crown used the Royal Hotel during the First World War and the hotel later claimed for compensation under Defence Act 1842.

Although the Crown argued that no compensation should be paid since there was an RP to acquire any land of the subject during wartime, the court held that when the statutory power and prerogative power co-existed, statutory power would override that of prerogative. Similarly, in R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Fire Brigades Union, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme set up under Ministerial Prerogative powers was used instead of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, so as to save money by awarding less compensation. The court held that if there is a statutory scheme, it cannot be replaced by the RP.

To prevent these scenarios from happening, Parliament has taken steps in recent years to incorporate some RP into statutes. For example, the Treasure Act 1996 states that the prerogative right of treasure trove has been abolished and replaced by this Act. The Human Rights Act 1998 protects citizens against arbitrary use of prerogatives, and the Fixed-Term Parliament Act 2011 has incorporated the RP of dissolution of Parliament. Hence with these recent developments, RP will be in less conflict with AOPs and more consistent with them, enabling them to be more certain and accessible to the public.

There are naysayers of codifying the RP that argue that such an act would increase the rigidity of the process to achieve the intended result. Indeed, this is true as can be seen in the prerogative to declare war on other countries. For such a result, the government would need the operational flexibility and speed of deployment that the RP provides. By incorporating it into a statute, not only will the efficiency of the government be reduced, excess publicity that the AOP will bring would undermine the success of the operation.

In addition, there will be situations where the government cannot await Parliamentary approval due to time constraints. Be that as it may, in practice, the government in modern times have looked for Parliament’s approval regarding the issue of war. In 2006, then Prime Minister Tony Blair, following his own vote over Iraq in 2003, acknowledged that he could not conceive of a situation in which a government is going to go to war – except in the circumstances where immediate action is required – without a full Parliamentary debate.

The Iraq war vote was a significant precedent that Parliament should give its approval regarding such matters. Following which, Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011 held a Parliamentary debate on whether UK should establish a no-fly zone in Libya after the outbreak of military action. Lastly, in September 2013, a Parliamentary debate was called to discuss the possible military intervention in Syria after chemical weapons were allegedly used on civilians. By calling a vote, the government was ensuring continuing adherence to the practice that Parliament should have a say in such issues.

Hence, even if codifying the RP does increase rigidity, the process of ensuring Parliament’s approval is already established. Some might feel that codifying the RP would be sacrificing UK history as they would be forgoing part of their culture which makes their unwritten constitution unique in today’s world (inclusive of New Zealand and Israel). Nevertheless, the RP is considered by many to be an outdated power and is such an important one that it should not bypass democratic representation.

The Efficacy of the Ghanaian Democratic Experiment Essay

The Efficacy of the Ghanaian Democratic Experiment Essay

The hackneyed, yet apt and succinct, definition of Democracy by Abraham Lincoln as contained in the concluding part of his famous Gettysburg Address as ‘’…government of the people, by the people, for the people…’’ remains today as the most quoted statement on Democracy. However, a careful examination of our democratic experiment leaves one to wonder if this definition perfectly encapsulates our experience. Our government is, granted, elected by the ordinary people, which bears testimony to the fact that we practise a form of democracy which is ‘’of the people’’.

However, I contend that our form of government is not a government whose workings have, wholly, over the years, proven to be in the interest of the people. We are constantly saddled with the unfortunate and despicably capricious abrupt abrogation of government’s contracts shortly after a change from one democratically-elected head of state to another of different political persuasions.

Our constitution, under The Directive Principles of State Policy, explicitly, states in Article 35, Clause (7) that, ‘’As far as practicable, a government shall continue and execute projects and programmes commenced by the previous Governments.

’’ When a successive Government arbitrarily abrogates a contract, most of the time for political expediency, those who bear the brunt of this ill-advised action have always been the ordinary tax payer. Classic cases in point are the payments of judgment debts by the current and previous Governments, which were shrouded in some amount of secrecy until recent revelations. Governments engage in this reprehensible act in a sophomoric attempt to make their predecessors unpopular. Such a practice does not engender development, which democracy seeks to attain for all. Democracy must result in meaningful development for the populace, otherwise it is of no significance; we do not practise democracy just for the sake of it. It is to afford every single citizen a say in the way the country is governed, and, eventually, respond to their needs. I strongly believe this problem is, partly, caused by the lack of a common national development policy to guide our governments.

The deep partisan nature of our politics makes it impossible for government and opposition parties to agree on a common development objectives. Our politics is characterised by the continual applause by Government for doing better than any government of the opposition and the continual representation of Government by the opposition parties for having done nothing. Sadly enough, this happens to be the case in most Western countries,too, and it always raises the question if we cannot adapt our democracy to our peculiar circumstances? For instance, I was surprised to hear that Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate of the Republican Party in the United States of America, who incidentally happened to be the person I was rooting for in last year’s American Presidential Election, imprudently, chose to attack the Obama Administration over the deaths of the US Ambassador to Libya and some American officials who were working at the embassy.

I thought that in such a solemn moment, Romney would exercise some political maturity and join President Obama to issue a statement to the friends and family of those who died. But this is how far political opposition can take us! And it is no different from what we, sometimes, witness in our homeland. Political parties in and out of government oppose each other for no tangible reasons. Looking at the development deficits of our nation, it is imperative that we adapt our democracy to be more responsive to the developmental needs of the ordinary people. Another reason that makes me doubt if our democracy is really ‘’for the people’’ is the unfortunate level of participation of the Ghanaian in our democratic experiment. Again, under the aforementioned Directive Principles of State Policy, the Constitution states, inter alia, in Article 35, Clause (6), paragraph (d) that the State shall afford all possible opportunities to the people in decision-making at every level in national life and in government.

This, to me, sounds pretty laudable in print, but in practice, the story is completely different: The only moment the Ghanaian really takes any decision in our national life is when it is time to elect Members of Parliament and the President. Beyond that time, the Ghanaian becomes merely a passive participant in the governance of the country. We usually hear refrains of ‘’Participatory Democracy’’ in the media being trumpeted by some state institutions, but, unfortunately, our Democracy does not have any real elements to showcase for that. I believe that our Democracy would be more participatory if we create more educated people, who understand the actual essence and imperatives of democratic governance. This, I suspect, would enable the greatest masses of the people to get actively engaged in the entire governance process of the country, and not merely always wait for every four years to queue up to vote.

To this end, I fervently pray that Government and all other stakeholders would invest heavily in the education of our people since it is an open secret that true democracy can only thrive on an informed citizenry. And for one to be informed, one needs to have the ability to appreciate the national issues of concern; one must possess the ability of separating useless propaganda from issues which present all sides in an objective manner. This can only be achieved if the citizenry have some appreciable level of education. Another issue that worries me greatly is how our democratic practice is becoming more and more expensive. Most political parties in opposition always promise to have slimmer Government when voted into power, but we all know what happens after they win power. It costs a lot to maintain just one minister of state. Lately, we see more people working at the Presidency, some even without any official designation.

It has become common to see lots of Government functionaries who describe themselves as being part of Government Communication Team. All these people are paid with the Tax Payer’s money! It is important that, as a nation, we do something drastic about our size of Government. Let us, however, not for once, delude ourselves into thinking that this problem is peculiar to the executive arm of Government. The most nauseating development, lately, in our national politics is the ritual increase of the number of constituencies by the Electoral Commission almost every four years on the basis of its constitutional mandate given to it by Article 47, clause (5) of our constitution. The foregoing article states clearly that, ‘’The Electoral Commission shall review the division of Ghana into constituencies at intervals of not less than seven years, or within twelve months after the publication of the enumeration figures after the holding of a census of the population of Ghana, whichever is earlier, and may, as a result, alter the constituencies.’’ This constitutional provision is so clear and simple to understand.

I am quite worried because the approach of the Commission to this constitutional duty is making it seem as though review of division into constituencies and altering of constituencies automatically mean an increase in their number. Review and alter are not synonymous with increase in any dictionary! When you do your calculations, you can be assured that within the next forty years the country cannot find a place to accommodate our Members of Parliament to conduct Government business if the commission does not stop this practice of increasing the constituencies regularly. Maybe the best way to deal with this problem is to set a ceiling for the number of Members of Parliament in the Constitution since from all indications, the Commission’s understanding of that provision is simply to increase the number of constituencies every eight years.

Without doubt, the size of the legislative arm of Government is getting too large, and we must, without any delay, start taking measures to reduce it. Ghanaians deserve quality representation, not quantity. Some Members of Parliament do not make any contribution to parliamentary debates in the chamber of the House, and some, I understand, do not make any meaningful contribution at the committees’ level. The strong brouhaha over the creation of the forty-five new constituencies last year was quite expected. As much as the argument about the unfavourableness of the time, was, sincerely, perfectly in order, the popular belief that a country of twenty-four million is not too huge to warrant more than two hundred legislative representatives is just the point.

In the first place, the Commission should not have even created the thirty constituencies in 2004. It is not a matter of legalities; it is a matter of common sense. Anytime any person opposes the creation of the new constituencies, the Commission quickly rebuts that it is its constitutional mandate. Well, the constitution talks of review, not necessarily an increase. Our democratic experiment may be fraught with some difficulties, but my most fervent prayer is that we should never allow any malcontent(s) to truncate this political system. I would hope that we invest in education and strengthening state institutions. These two exercises are critical to deepening democratic culture in our country. I pray that all Ghanaians would get their hands on deck so that we can move forward collectively to truly build a better Ghana.

The Role of Engineer in Nation Building Essay

The Role of Engineer in Nation Building Essay

Why should a privileged person help an underprivileged person? As the definition suggests that the privileged person is someone who is having the special rights, advantages or immunities or having the rare opportunity to do something that brings particular pleasure. On the other hand the unprivileged person is someone who is not enjoying the same standard of living or rights as the majority of the people in the society. So in a socio economic point of view the presence of both the class cannot be ignored but with proper ratio.

A society can’t only have one of the two to improve or else we can say the wheel of the society can’t be moved freely without the presence of the two but of course there should be a proper balance between these two. The law of the nature says that the stream flows from the top to bottom likewise the privileged person should come and hold the hand of the underprivileged person to move the society in a proper pace.

Now it’s the time to think of the human values and morality of a human being if he/she is gifted with some advantages or right then it’s the duty of them to come and help the people who are deprived of. On the other hand the underprivileged person should be thankful and have sense of gratitude for the person whom he/she is grateful in any sense be it money, values or spiritualism. Even Mahatma Gandhi told this in another aspect such as: I want to write many new things but they all must be written on Indian state. I would gladly borrow from the west when I can return the amount with decent interest. So borrowing things from others is not a crime but one should not forget about to return with something greater to the person whom he/she is grateful to. This is a cycle of civilization and one can’t break the chain.

The society is mixed with people and cultures, one should be aware of the fact that everybody is equally important and they should help each other to form a warm and healthy atmosphere to live for the next generations to come. Even the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen in his book The Idea of Justice (2009) explained that ideal democracy demands to take from the rich and use honestly and wisely for the people. Moreover, Sen notes that in famines only a very small proportion of the population is affected—much less than 10%. Political pressure from this group alone would not be enough to force a democratic government to respond. It is the pressure from the non-suffering members of society that makes the difference.

But if government officials in democracies don’t care about the starving unless they are threatened with a loss of power, why do members of the population who are not starving care about the starving? It seems that if compassion or solidarity moves non-starving citizens to advocate for famine victims, it would move government officials to respond to the famine. Even Bentham and Mill explained that west democracy instills an idea for the greatest good of the largest number. M.K.Gandhi denies the principle and said that it should be greatest good for all. So on a nutshell we can conclude that for maintaining a true democracy it is the need of an hour to help unprivileged people for the greatest good of the civilization.

Past and Present Chapter Essay

Past and Present Chapter Essay

Opportunity and self-made men were the order of the day The founding fathers considered democracy to be direct rule of the people A concept they feared and rejected Jacksonians considered “the voice of the people” to be “the voice of God” Democracy and Society No one could expect social privilege because of family ties European visitors noted the lack of first class accommodations The word “servant” was disappearing; in its place was “help” Domestic workers were not considered a social subclass Members of different earning groups dressed similarly Democracy expressed itself in medicine, law and religion

Unorthodox “healers” were given place alongside doctors Local bars allowed lower standards in some areas The clergy came under more control of the laity The popular press became increasingly important Written and read by common people Many small venues and a few influential papers with large readership Democratic Culture Democratic expression in literature and art Popular taste v. elite or traditional culture Romanticism was “adapted” to sentimentalism in popular literature Formulaic gothic novels sold well Possible because of increased literacy Also cheaper printing More novels written by women

Universal white manhood suffrage was the rule by the 1820s Rise in elected v appointed officials Stump speaking and campaigning became the norm More festive and dramatic Martin Van Buren and others began to build statewide political organizations Idea of the “loyal opposition” developed Other political changes Two party system enhanced Electors more often chosen by popular vote Voting percentages increased dramatically 1824—27% 1828—55% 1840—78% Why more interest? Panic of 1819—concern about money issues Issues such as banks, tariffs, internal improvements Jacksonians were concerned about monied interests

Opponents were concerned about rabble rousers Should the federal government become more active? Foster economic growth? Destroy corporate privilege and monopoly? Support the rights of the working man? Abolish inheritance, improve public education? New York Working Men’s Party thought so Also favored redistribution of assets Philadelphia was a center of labor activity General Trades’ Unions was formed Achieved a 10-hour workday Set an early precedent for mass action Abolitionists became more active Some also wanted equal rights for women These reformers saw little success.

Australian Elections Essay

Australian Elections Essay

Institutional factors:

Institutional factors relate to the type of the electoral system used in an election. Institutional factors that can influence the election include compulsory voting, the type of ballot, gerrymanders and malapportionment.

Compulsory voting ensures 95 per cent of Western Australians participate in elections. However, it has been echoed by some academics that compulsory voting favors major parties. This is due to few people doing their own research into political parties and voting for parties they recognize through the media.

The type of ballot used in an election has the most influence on the outcome.

In a preferential ballot a seat has to be won by an absolute majority. Which gives an advantage to major political parties. However, in proportional voting a candidate has to get a derived quota to be elected. This means that a small party or independent can get elected with as little as 20% of the vote.

Gerrymanders are also another major factor that can influence an election.

Gerrymanders allow governments to redistribute electoral boundaries. Governments are then able to win more seats by reducing vote wastage in safe seats and shifting the wasted votes into marginal seats therefore giving them a better chance to win the marginal seats. This tends to favor the government because they have majority support to change electoral boundaries.

Malapportionment is another institutional factor which may affect the election outcome. Malapportionment is a calculation used to even out an uneven distribution of population. This is done by increasing the power of votes in smaller districts. The problem with malapportionment is that it tends to favor the party or independent who exploits the weakness in the electoral system.

Sociological factors:

Sociological factors relate to the values and attitudes voters believe in. When voters are attracted to a particular party this is because they tend to support relatively the same values and attitudes. This will often lead the voter to vote for the party they are attracted to. The values and attitudes people obtain are often related to experiences the voter’s life. The biggest influence on values and attitudes of voters is their family. The fundamental sociological factors include socioeconomic profile, ethnic background, religion, geographical location, age and gender.

Socioeconomic factors relate to a person ‘social class’. Social class structures of persons are generally divided by education achieved, employment category and income. Due to the recent blurring of policy in major political parities, voters have not been significantly polarized by the above three particulars. Therefore, socioeconomic factors don’t greatly affect election outcomes.

Ethnic background relates to migrant origins. Origins of ethnic groups tend to reflect in political opinion. Trends suggest that ethnic communities that come from oppressive regimes vote on the left wing -Labor-. However, ethnic communities that migrate from democratic countries tend to vote right wing -Liberal-.

Religion has become less of a factor in the outcome of an election. In the past religion has played a major role in Australian elections. This is due to mainly European migrants being either protestant or catholic. This division of religion ended in the 1940’s possibly due to World War Two. However, religious people generally cast a stronger conservative vote, relative to people with limited or no assimilation with religion.

Geographic location in Western Australia has caused strong political divides. These strong political divides exist between the rural areas and the city. This division is due to different political and economic requirements needed by rural and city Western Australia. These different requirements have been around since foundation so the political division has always been prevalent.

Age is an important aspect of the sociological factors. Mature age voters often support conservative right wing political parties. Where as, younger voters tend towards voting for left wing political parties. This trend for younger voters to elect left wing parties has been around since the 1970’s. Some of the early young voters stay loyal to left wing political parties.

Gender in the last 30 years has played a prevalent role in Australia’s politics. This is due to the social revolution of the role of women. Women’s votes tend to be for a conservative party. Some psychologists believe this is because women reject change more then men. However, history has seen that women’s votes seen to have been arbitrary and lacking in trends.

Political factors:

Political factors fundamentally relate to the ability of political parties to make successful decisions. Political factors that may affect the election include the government’s record, opposition performance, economic management, leadership, the electoral campaign and media.

The government’s record is an integral part of the party being re-elected. This is because re-election is a test to see if governments have avoided great controversy and delivered on performance. The examiners for the test are the voters. Great controversy can cause a government to lose an election. This is especially true when the controversy relate to money. This is because voters are scrupulous about were the money is being spent in the community. Performance of a government can be measured by how much they have delivered on pre election policy. If voters are disappointed about how much the government has delivered on policy they often wont trust the government for another term.

Opposition performance relates to how weak or strongly the opposition party has performed. In order for an opposition party to gain votes and possibly win an election. The opposition party must successfully identify a policy weakness of the existing government. The opposition party must then develop alternative policy options for the voters. However, if an existing government is clearly going to be defeated in the next election. The best tactic for an opposition would be to make few policy commitments.

Economic management is possibly the greatest factor in elections. Economic stability and profitability in a government is fundamentally one of the most important issues. Profitability is more than just a government being in an account surplus. It also includes the ability of a government to provide successful funding to public systems. Stability refers to no great economic fluctuations. Voters lose confidence in governments if economic conditions are always changing.

Leadership is important for a party. This is because often people look at the figurehead of the party, rather then the party as whole. Spin doctors or image consultants work on many factors of a leader’s profile. This is to make them as appealing to the public as possible. Leadership also includes how well the leader can hold the party together. This demonstrates a sign of strength to the voters. Strength alludes to the factors of authority and power.

The electoral campaign decisions a party has to make include timing to start the campaign, advertising campaigns and areas to target. Timing to start an electoral campaign is important. If a campaign is to close to the election date key policy may not be heard by voters. If the campaign is announced too quickly it will give the opposition time to criticize the policy of the governments. Advertising is expensive and if it is done wrong it can be costly, however, if it is done correctly it can win an election. In recent times Mass media is a great way to advertise this is due to its impact and coverage. However, mass media advertising has to be carefully constructed, this is to minimize any chance of a mistake. Where to target advertising can also be an important decision. Parties often tend to heavily advertise in marginal seats, however, this policy has been costly. This is because other seats have lost support for the party and swung to another party.

Media is seen as one of the greatest influences on modern politics. Due to the introduction of television and radio news about politics is always being articulated. This is because people use media as the main medium to decide on political parties. However, recent pools suggest that media being so influential is overrated. This is due to free to air media needing to gain ratings to sell advertising. Thus, if a political party is unpopular it would not be in the media’s best interest to support the party. As the media could potentially lose ratings. It is echoed by John Willmott that media doesn’t set political opinion it just merely enforces it.

Voting Age Essay

Voting Age Essay

Democracy is an egalitarian form of government in which all the citizens of a nation together determine public policy, the laws and the actions of their state, requiring that all citizens (meeting certain qualifications) have an equal opportunity to express their opinion. And that opinion is expressed by the simple act of voting which is one of the most important human rights . In lebanon , we get introduced to that concept at a young age in school when kids get to vote for their class president for instance, then we develop a better understand of its political aspect at university.

During the 19th century , the most common age at which the citizens acquired the right to vote was 21 or higher . However , by the end of the 20th century the voting age has become 18 in almost all countries with the exception of Lebanon and a few others. Some people believe that Lebanon should lower its voting age from 21 to 18 and many proposals were made regarding that , but are 18 years old here mature enough to make such decisions? Does the Lebanese history allow them to vote independently despite their parents cival war grudges? And finally are we ready to disturb our sectarian balance with the deluge of new voters?

In most western countries , when you reach adulthood you become on your own .

You move out of your parents house , get a job to pay for your own education and move on from there . Whereas that’s not the case in Lebanon . Rare are the people that leave home at 18 here due to many traditional beliefs youth usually stay with their parents till their married. Thus we don’t learn responsibility at this young age like adults in other countries. It might be true that giving younger people voting rights will force politicians to take them seriously but its also very dangerous 18 year olds although in adult bodies, still have the mind of children that have to be protected . At 21 , their political views are likely to be more thoughtful than at 18 who are just going to copy their parents opinions or adopt silly ideas for the sake of rebellion such as voting for legalizing drugs .. In addition , Lebanon has suffered from a 16 –year civil war. Even though it ended 22 years ago we are still enduring its consequences til this day. So arguments and rules that apply to other countries cant be applied here.

The Youth campaign and the Civil one that proposed the lowering of the voting age should reconsider the fact that youth here are very much influenced by their parents who faught in the civil war and still hold family grudges against each other. They are not independent with their political thoughts , they seek vengeance for their parents instead of making conscious decisions based on knowledge and education after the university experience . Furthermore, university elections have clearly shown over the years that Lebanese youth are not ready or mature enough for this kind of responsibility with all the clashes that has been happening between youth that follow different political parties like the fight between supporters of the Future Movement and Haraket Amal at the Lebanese American University in November 2011 that led to many injuries or even different clashes at Notre Dame University, Lebanese university and others…

Last but not least , the main reason why the Lebanese Parliament has rejected the bill to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 is the fact that it led to a sharp division between Muslim and Christian politicians. Lebanon has 18 different sects, that function according to a sectarian law . it seems amending the voting age would add far more Muslims than Christians to voter rolls . Rabih Haber, president of the research company Statistics Lebanon, have done an approximate study and got his numbers from the Interior Ministry .

It says that with the new voters, it would add nearly 175,000 Muslims and around 58,000 Christians to the roles with Shia Muslims being the sect with the most potential new voters. To change the voting age , lawmakers must amend the constitution which requires the support of two-thirds of both the cabinet and Parliament which will not happen because different Political Parties have different benefits and this law is only beneficial for Huzballah and Amal and disturbing the sectarian balance in a country like Lebanon can’t be healthy .

In Conclusion , I think the perfect age for voting in Lebanon is 21 since at that age the youth have enough maturity and independence to make their own decisions without basing it on history feuds and parental brainwashing. Plus I don’t think Lebanon can afford an instability in its sectarian system just yet . Maybe if we were more politically stable , that change would have been possible but with these conditions I think giving 18 year olds the right to vote can be very dangerous and they might use it in foolish ways .

References:
http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=142180
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_age
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Nov-01/152795-student-supporters-of-hariri-berri-fight-at-beirut-university.ashx#axzz1qUe64XuF http://www.euromedp.org/testimonies/lebanon/