Saturday - Apr 20, 2019

Democracy vs. Republic


marvinphotonew_editorial2

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR:

Dear readers:

A reply to a Facebook political posting regarding democracy and republic caused a small argument with another FB friend, which indicated to me that there is lack of information in many people regarding the difference between the two. Because I believe every citizen should know this, I went and found the article below, which I hope will bring some light to those who lack information about the difference between democracy and republic. – Marvin Ramírez

by unknown author

Nowadays, many people are not clear on the concepts “Democracy” and “Republic” and often confuse them.
The term “Democracy” refers to a form of government. Our country, adopted the Representative Democracy, by means of which, the authorities are elected by the direct vote of the citizens (articles 1 and 22 of the C.N.)
On the other hand, a “Republic” is a political system, based on the rule of law (Constitution) and the equality of all its inhabitants before the law (articles 15 and 16 of the C.N.)
In modern democracy, the so-called “rule of the majority” plays a decisive role, that is, the right of the majority to adopt its position when there are various proposals.
However, this position should never affect the fundamental rights of minorities or individuals.
For a true democracy to work, there must be (for example): periodicity in the positions, publicity of the acts of government, responsibility of politicians and public officials, sovereignty of the law, respect for opposing ideas, equality before the law, law, suitability as a condition of access to public office, etc.

For a true republic to work, there must be real independence and control among the powers that comprise it: The Executive (President), The Legislative Power (Deputies and Senators) and the Judiciary (Supreme Court and other lower courts).

This Division of Powers, emerged as a way to protect the citizen against the State.
In antiquity, these powers were monopolized by the absolutist monarchy which was attributed the abuse of power in dealing with people (despotism).

Some disturbing questions now arise.

A government can be democratically elected (by legitimately winning elections), but its exercise may not be elected if, for example, it does not meet the needs of the population.

Likewise, it can happen that a ruler is democratic in its origin and in its exercise, but not republican in its management if, for example, it does not ensure or ignore the division of powers.
In our daily reality, there is ample evidence to worry about the critical path our country has taken.
These are some of them: the Congress of the Nation delegates faculties to the president when this is expressly prohibited in the CN, the ruling party does not respect or heed the opinions of the opposition, the executive does not respect the judicial decisions and signs decrees being in functions the legislative chambers, subsidies and patronage are paid with the contribution of agonized retirees, the media are persecuted and freedom of expression is threatened (of those who think differently from the government), wills are bought, indices are falsified official, confidential information and public money are used for political purposes, confiscatory taxes, etc., etc. are applied.

It is regrettable to observe how institutions are despised and, at the same time, it is clear how justice is not willing to take action on these issues while the National Congress remains indifferent.

Can a government then be democratic and not republican?

We have contemporary examples such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, where popular leaders who have come to power through the support of majorities in democratic processes, have ended the rule of law and have turned the judicial system and the forces of order into instruments of repression and political persecution.

Strictly speaking, these governments have not ceased to be democratic. After all, the abuses they have committed have had the tacit or explicit approval of the majority of their respective populations.

That is why, being despotic and antirepublicans boast of being democratic. And they use democracy as an argument, in the strict sense of support of the majorities through the ballot boxes, to put an end to the Republic.

So that our country does not follow this path, we must “educate the sovereign”, that is, the citizen.
The population should understand that democracy is not extinguished in the act of election of a majority, but must be practiced every day respecting the institutions and all sectors of the people, preventing circumstantial majorities from abusing minorities.

It is precisely to avoid these evils that the Republic and the Powers Division were created.
Currently the lack of knowledge is such that people do not know that the National Deputies and Senators represent the interests of the people of the provinces that elected them (articles 45 and 54 of the CN). An immense majority believes that the function of these delegates is to defend or oppose the government, by raising their hands and blindly obeying the bloc leader.

It is the Republic that gives the framework for democracy to really work and it is the division of powers that enables the rights and guarantees of citizens to be respected. It is in this way that Democracy can act correctly.

Nowadays, it seems that in practice there is no other power than the executive ruling at will by decree, and that the Republic is a simple euphemism that only serves to justify the excesses of the current government.