Types of Government
There are two main types of government, viz. monarchy and democracy.
When the head of the government is a king, this is called a monarchy. The king enjoys supreme power. Power is transferred from one king to another on the basis of inheritance. This means that the son or daughter of a king becomes the next king or queen. In this system, people have no say in selection of government. Monarchy is still being practiced in a handful of countries, e.g. Bhutan and Saudi Arabia.
In a democratic government, the rulers are elected by people. Democracy is defined as the government by the people, for the people and of the people. In this system, power is transferred from one ruler to another on the basis of people’s choice.
In the modern context, most of the countries follow representational democracy. In this system, people elect their representatives through popular elections. After the elections, a new government is formed on the basis of people’s choice. To understand this, let us understand the formation of Central Government in India.
After every five years, General Elections are held in India to elect the next government. The whole country has been divided into 543 parliamentary constituencies. People from each parliamentary constituency elect their representative who is called the Member of Parliament.
Formation of Government
The political party or the political group which secures at least 272 seats (1 more than halfway mark) in the Parliament gets the opportunity to form the government. After that, the MPs from the winning political party or group elect their leader who becomes the Prime Minister.
History of Democracy
About more than 300 years ago, monarchy was the norm in most of the countries in the world. People of many countries struggled for years to ensure that democratic system replaced monarchy from most of the countries. In case of India, there was a long drawn struggle to throw out the foreign rule. Once the foreign rule ended in India, it paved the way for democratic government.
Universal Adult Franchise
In modern times, universal adult franchise is the norm in most of the countries. Universal adult franchise means that all adult citizens of the country have the right to vote. This means, that poor and rich, men and women, Hindus or Muslims or Christians or Sikhs or Buddhists; everyone has equal voting right. Vote of each person carries equal weight irrespective of the economic status, caste, gender or religion. In most of the countries, universal adult franchise could become a reality only after many years of struggle.