A democratic political system is one in which the power to rule supposedly lies in the hands of citizens who have the freedom to choose their leaders. The word ‘democracy’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘popular government’.
Despite its supporters who keep talking about its theoretical benefits, democracy has a number of drawbacks as a practical system of governance.
- Encourages corruption
Since elected leaders have access to enormous budgets, they are often tempted to misuse the money for their own interests. Moreover, politicians who have supporters and friends who make contributions for election campaigns might feel indebted to these people and might try to give them favors in the future.
- Can lead to wrong choices
In a democratic form of government, running for office is easy so long as the basic requirements are met. Virtually anyone who has the money to spend can influence voters and defeat a candidate who is more eligible but lacks the resources to run a campaign. Democracy often gives power to corrupt and power-hungry people without the moral requisites, intellectual skills or the will to lead a nation.
- Makes voting a personal choice
According to critics, one of the big disadvantages of democracy is the freedom not to vote, because voting is considered a privilege and not an obligation. There are always people who choose not to cast their votes for lack of motivation or awareness.
- Makes decision-making tedious
Another disadvantage is that unlike in a dictatorship or monarchy where decisions are made by one individual, democracy follows complex procedures for decision-making which can take a long time, as everyone might not agree.
- Favors majority
Democracy looks to quantity and to quality. Since leaders are elected by a majority vote, shrewd politicians can make use of their money and power to persuade the majority to vote for them. This also puts off minority voters from participating in the electoral process as they deem it pointless. This is a serious downside because numbers do not prove rightness in any situation.
- Creates Dynasties
In many developing countries, rich businessmen and politicians have managed to abuse their positions of power to create dynastic rule for their families, turning democracy into a mockery.
Thus elections in democracy are a farce in which common people are fed a delusion of being in a state of decision-making, while they are not actually in a position to judge the candidate on merit, or even influence the outcome.