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The right kind of democracy

  • Published at 12:48 am March 22nd, 2019
Every vote must count
Every vote must count / BIGSTOCK

How can governments improve?

Particracy, when one or more political parties dominate, is a contemporary global reality in the parliamentary democratic system. There is a democracy on one side of the “particracy” and on the other side there is unethical politics. 

After World War II, the Federal Republic of Germany delivered the model for particracy, though it was first used in the late 1960s. 

A particracy can ensure good governance, but also the deprivation and exploitation of the common people. Unless continued in a competent as well as controlled status, it can go beyond control, and an immoral political culture is perhaps inevitable.  

In short, in such a situation where everything belongs to party politics, citizens get ignored to a great extent. The power of each party varies according to the party’s political philosophy, its constitution, historical context, rules and traditions, as well as the number of legislators from it in the legislative body and number of elected representatives from the same in the local government bodies.

In an extreme particracy, the ruling party intends to dominate the democratic institutions, to make the citizens rubber-stamp the electoral process, to control the country’s political process, to undermine the opposition parties, and to influence state governance and political economy. 

The opposition party in such a situation either runs a tough popular democratic movement or loses complete trust in the government, the people, and its followers, and thus fails to construct such a popular movement. It employs lobbyists for advocacy in favour of the party, or becomes linked to the underworld and extremists, gets involved with conspiracies, and, in the end, pays the price for it.   

In a particracy, the post or the position becomes the central reason for political engagement. Everybody runs for the position, and as a result, jealousy, corruption, and vengeance grow in intra-party politics as well. 

Thus, the essence of learning and practicing the political and ideological philosophy of the party become feeble, and it becomes increasingly difficult to eliminate the exploitation of people, control illegal drugs, corruption, and terrorism. Difficulties arise in harmonizing governance and development in such a situation. 

In order to overcome such a situation, reform can be made by taking effective actions in the development of ethical leadership among new generations, ensuring leadership with highly educated and promising young people and accommodating them in politics, increasing organizational accountability of the party, improving intra and inter party democratic practices, putting national interest first, and separating government and party management teams, among other things.

In the case of Bangladesh, political parties have already been registered, and the ruling party is also thinking about the separation of the government’s governance and the party management. And the first two reform proposals are both theoretical and practical as well as predominantly inclusive, and their results will be very comprehensive. 

The rest of the recommendations may seem to be very theoretical, because there are too many problems. However, to shield further structural deterioration, the top leadership should continue to implement the remaining suggestions. 

Civil society or research institutions may also work with the first reform proposal. Government and corporate sectors may be partners here as part of its social responsibility. 

Asian University of Bangladesh, for example, has outlined a pilot concept paper for the development of ideological leadership and moral values among the new generations. 

Mohammad Rafiqul Islam Talukdar is an Associate Professor and Director at the Asian University of Bangladesh.