In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them.

Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions.

Elections have to occur at regular intervals, as prescribed by law.  Those in power cannot extend their terms in office without asking for the consent of the people again in an election.

For elections to be free and fair, they have to be administered by a neutral, fair, and professional body that treats all political parties and candidates equally.

All parties and candidates must have the right to campaign freely, to present their proposals to the voters both directly and through the mass media.

Voters must be able to vote in secret, free of intimidation and violence.

Independent observers must be able to observe the voting and the process must be free of corruption, intimidation, and fraud.

There needs to be some impartial and independent tribunal to resolve any disputes about the election results.

This is why it takes a lot of time to organize a good, democratic election.

Any country can hold an election, but for an election to be free and fair requires a lot of organization, preparation, and training of political parties, electoral officials, and civil society organizations who monitor the process.

The key role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life. Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests.

Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens. But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support.

Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetingsand membership civic meetings, bably best placed in Article 5 on the Judicial Authority.materials are.pecified.il. ency Council, and even protesting.

A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call “civil society.”

These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs:  farmers, workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious believers, women, students, human rights activists.

In a democracy, participation in civic groups should be voluntary.  No one should be forced to join an organization against their will.

Political parties are vital organizations in a democracy, and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties.

However, no one should support a political party because he is pressured or threatened by others.  In a democracy, citizens are free to choose which party to support.

Democracy depends on citizen participation in all these ways.  But participation must be peaceful, respectful of the law, and tolerant of the different views of other groups and individuals.

In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them.

 

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