What are the main differences between authoritarian and democratic regimes?

Essay by princebilal1University, Bachelor'sB-, November 2004

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Democratic and authoritarian are two very different and contradicting forms of political regimes. They differ in the way a country or a state is managed. In attempting to identify and discuss the differences between the two regimes, we should think what implications do the two regimes have on the political system. How are they different in terms of the institutions they inherent? How are rulers elected and which one provides the more comprehensive representation? How does the law making process differ, what implications do they have on the judiciary and civil rights? Is the distribution of power different in the two regimes? And finally which one is more prosperous economically and in providing a stable political system. I start off by trying to define the general characteristics of the two regimes.

Authoritarian regime is a political rule forced upon its citizens without their consent. In other words, there is no conception of free and fair elections and rulers rule in their own interest over the mass.

Rulers do not face the threat of 'exit' or 'questioning' and thus are not accountable to anyone. Organisations that are critical of the regime and attempt to discuss potential alternatives are either banned or severely punished. Freedom of speech and the existence of unbiased media are inconceivable. Inflow of information is either manipulated or not allowed as it may develop a possible threat to the regime. Some examples of states with these characteristics are Iraq, North Korea, Egypt, and UAE.

Singe party states, dictatorships and military regimes are types of authoritarian rule. The first two of these are similar to each other. Single party states allow only one political party to compete in elections and rule over the state and dictatorships arise when the leader of the single party accumulates power and forces it...