Liberal democracy is a common form of representative democracy. According to the laid principles of liberal democracy, the elections ought to be free and fair, as well as have a competitive political process. The political pluralism has been defined as the presence of distinct and multiple political parties. A liberal democracy might take various constitutional forms; this might be a constitutional republic which is sometimes called the federal republic as it is in the United States. They might either have the presidential systems as it is in the United Sates or be hybrid, or semi-presidential system as it in France.
Following Guillermo and O'Donnell, among others, United States liberal democracy have provided the regime that posses a combination of constitutional freedoms, vertical accountability of holders of different offices to the electorate and robust horizontal accountability of office holders to the electorate and robust horizontal accountability of office holders to the authority. The whole of these ensures that, there is neither individual nor elite group who can indefinitely stand above the rule of law. It has bee pointed out by some scholars that, rule bounded uncertainty about the political outcome characterizes the political life (Scheb, 2006).
On its part, an illiberal democracy is also referred to as pseudo democracy, partial democracy or the declarative democracy. This forms a governing system that din which, though elections take place, citizens are usually cut off from knowledge about the practices of those exercising the real powers due to lack of civil liberties. This shows that, it is not an open system, this might be based on the reason that, there is a constitution that limits that government powers, however, its liberties are in most cases ignored, or due to an adequate legal constitution framework of liberties does not in any way exist. Illiberal governments like the one in Singapore might do things the way they feel it fits the country as long as they are able to hold regular elections.
The absence of liberties in such like environments, might be due to lack of freedom of speech as well as the freedom of assembly, hence the issue of being in opposition is very difficult. In such countries, the rulers have centralized powers between the branches of the central government as well as the local government with no power separation. In Singapore, media is always controlled by the state and strongly supports the regime in power. As a result, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are faced with onerous regulations or simply prohibited. The regime in Singapore has used the red tape, economic pressure, or violence against those criticizing it (Ajin, 2004).
Concerning political stability, it has been argued that, liberal democratic countries like the United States of America are much more stable as compared to other forms of regime. Most analysts have argued that, the regime type provides an institutional safety valve against social frustrations. As an effect, individuals have revolt at the ballot box other than the barricade. The elections have been used by the stakeholders in liberal countries to dislodge stakeholders have the habits of bad politics. This in one way or the other has led to real change and improvements through peaceful alternations of governments other regime alternations.
In addition, the relatively powerful nature of policy making atmosphere helps in preventing politicians from pursuing policies that can lead to more damage to their people. On the other hand, illiberal democracy in Singapore, by definition handles distributive conflicts through highly constrained biased political procedures that though limit, but do not eliminate any political uncertainties concerning the political results. During the time of crisis, such limited political space has high opportunities of becoming highly charged and far much hyper-competitive. In places like Singapore where incumbent elites have remained unified in the face of crisis, they might end up succeeding in response to the crisis, however, for it to succeed, will require a crackdown on the opposition as well as any kind of institutional sources of access to the political operations that they might have. The increased repression helps in the elimination of vestige institutions of democracy instructions, which might move the 0regime type in a direction that is authoritarian (Halperin, et al, 2005).
By considering the role of media, it has been argued that in liberal democracy countries like the United States, the media constitutes a free press, in line that, it has the capability to offer an accurate representation of both political and social issues to its audience, without being forced to conform to government dictated party line. On top of all these, media in such countries has been used as a watchdog; this means that, it is supposed to promote the peoples' interests of individuals and have the freedom for it to challenge authoritarianism on the states part (Burns, 1957). As an effect, the main role of the media, is not to provide a medium through which uncritical for the ruling ideology, do provide medium through which it can be critiqued and much challenged.
On the other hand, illiberal democracy like in Singapore, there is nothing like free press. In its role of providing information to audience, it is obliged to conform to the government dictated party line. This is based on the fact that, they are state owned. In such countries, media does not promote the interests of the people, as it is not free to challenge authoritarianism on the part of state as it has to regime. As a result, the role of media is to provide uncritical support for the ruling ideology, however, it does not provide a medium through which, it can not critique and challenge the regime, as an effect, it does not open and free debate (Scheb, 2006).
By looking at the structure, the liberal democracy in the United Sates normally has universal suffrage that grants all adult citizens the right to vote no matter the gender, or ownership of the property. However, historically, United States has been having encouraged secrete balloting, there is also need for voters to register before allowing to vote. So as a matter of fact, the decision made through elections in both liberal and illiberal system of government, is not by all the citizens, but rather by these who made a choice to participate by voting. However in illiberal, the bigoted groups take power through democratic means like mostly in Singapore, who then ignore the constitutional limits.
In such countries, though election might be carried out, but civil liberties are then disrespected, as well as use of military in settling mistakes due to overrides the legislature and the judiciary. Further more, in liberal, the interests of the minority is protected from the majority (Diamond, & Morlino, 2005). Another similarity in the U.S liberal democracy and the Singapore illiberal democracy is that, their political systems have similar structural components namely constitution and executive, legislature as well as the judiciary. However, in liberal democracy, there is a clear separation of powers from all these three arms of government. But in Singapore illiberal democracy, there is no clear separation of powers from the three powers of government and the constitution, due to the fact that, the executive has concentrated all the powers on itself.
In conclusion, Singapore as a country does 100% fit the description of its illiberal political system. This is based on the fact that, it is a classical example of illiberal democracy. Singapore has ethnic Chinese majority city states and former British colonies. Initially, Singapore was structured as relatively liberal democracy, as there were some internal laws that were passed for detention with no trial. As time went by, Singapore's Action Party government consolidated power, it enacted laws that curtailed the freedom of the constitution such as the right to assemble, and this extended its influence over media unions, academia as well as the NGOs. Though technically free and fair multiparty elections are conducted regularly, fears and self-censorship makes the participants in opposition politics very had. As a result the dominate party is left to dominate the party in power as the only credible option at the polls (Diamond, & Morlino, 2005).
On the other hand, the classic liberal democracy is representative of democracy. It has been argued that some of these democracies have additional referenda systems, which allows the electorate aposibility of overruling the decisions of the elected legislature, or even at times make decisions by the use of plebiscite without giving the legislatures a say in that decision. As a result, U.S is not among the few countries that have liberal democracies with a representative system that is accompanied referenda and plebiscites, though it has referenda to a lesser degree in its political system. The addition of referenda to a political system assists in the prevention of liberal democracy developing into oligarchy. In addition, it has been argued that, U.S is used similar to liberal democracy, as it relays on the representatives democracy, but is government system is far much complex than that, it is not a simple representative democracy, but a constitutional republic where the majority is tempered with (Mulgan, & Peter, 2004).
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