Democracy entails more than the form of government. Other components act as indicators of presence or absence of democracy. Such components include freedom of speech, separation of power, and elections…
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Elements of Democracy in France
Other arms of government are the senate and National Assembly, which form the legislature and the Judiciary. Existence of different arms of government ensures separation of power, which enhances democracy. France is governed by a principle, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Citizens above 18 years are free to register, vote or be voted for. Freedom of speech is a measure and foundation of democracy without which freedom is nonexistence. Freedom of speech guarantees everyone right to express themselves differently. It functions best in pluralistic states where different opinions in decision-making. This paper focuses on three democratic elements of democratic, freedom of speech, elections, and separation of power. The paper will assess if the three if the three elements exist in France. Before the 20th Century, freedom of speech was nonexistence in many nations. Critics such as presses were often closed down or exiled. Certain forms of writing were censored. In France, the freedom of expression was nonexistence until the 20th Century when the human right groups arose and started fighting for such rights. The freedom of speech became guaranteed after French Declaration of the Rights of man was expanded to include the right of expression.As early as 1881, the France government amended the Press Law allowing freedom of press. However, the rise of incitement led to enactment of Pleven Act in 1972, which bars any form of incitement, discrimination, or racism. Additionally, any form of hate speech against people based on gender, physicality or sexual orientation is prohibited. Currently, France follows the European Convention of Human Rights. The freedom of expression through writing is guaranteed in France where government censorship on written publications is not allowed (Francois, 2005, 17-22). Although the theory of elite, which advocates that the power be bestowed upon the few educated individuals, arose from France, it is no longer practiced in France. In France, the government power is bestowed on the different arms of the government. The executive, which is headed by popularly elected president, includes the prime minister as well as the cabinet. The legislature is bicameral and comprises of the Senate and the national assembly, which are referred to as the upper house and the lower house respectively. The judiciary, which operates independent of the legislature and executive comprises of the judicial as well as other administrative orders in addition to the constitutional court. The powers of each arm of the government are clearly defined by the constitution (Genieys, 2005, 414- 417). Additionally, the powers are distinguished in the constitution. It is clear that the prime minister and the president head the executive, which is at time confusing since the two have different roles. The president appoints the prime minister. The powers of the president include calling for referendum, negotiating for ratification of treaties, Dissolving the national assembly as well as requisition for constitutional review if need be. The president is elected through direct universal suffrage in which a candidate requires to obtain absolute majority to be declared the winner. In France, numerous powers are bestowed upon the president, which is attributable to the manner in which the president is elected (Carcassonne, 2002, Web). The prime minister has clearly
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