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Political Participation - Essay Example

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Political participation derives from freedom to associate, assemble and take part in conduct of public affairs through voting. The citizens are allowed to register as political candidates, hold election campaigns or elect their representatives to public office…
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Political Participation
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"Political Participation"

Download file to see previous pages Elections will reinforce the political stability and legitimacy of democracy in the country through allowing the citizens to exercise their fundamental rights of selecting their own representatives in several political offices. Accordingly, political elections contribute to self-actualization through confirmation of the basic rights of citizens and reinforcement of self-esteem among the population (Waters 119). Political elections entrench accountability in the management of public affairs and resources across the country. In addition, electoral process forces the candidates to outline their leadership capabilities including past records and future intentions thus acting as a forum for citizens to discuss their political needs and express their public opinion. Elections will provide public education to citizens and safeguard the democratic principles that aim at ensuring proper management of public affairs and full public participation ( Boehmke 234). Types of elections Referendums Referendum is a electoral process whereby voters express their wishes in regards to proposed legislation or government policy. Obligatory referendums involves statutes or legislation action that seeks approval of the citizens while optional referendum involves popular vote on laws that have been petitioned by a section of the citizens (Boehmke 79). Referendums are useful in advancing legislation in the country since the legislature refers public policy matters to the voters for approval such as tax law changes, changes to the state constitution and other less controversial matters that require the public opinion. Popular referendum is also used to repeal acts of the legislature and statutes through a petition that entails collecting sufficient signatures that require a popular vote for the law to be enacted. Lastly, advisory referendums are used by the legislature or governor in order to determine the public opinion, but the outcome of the vote is not binding. For instance, Rhode Island State governor used the advisory referendum in 2002 by asking the citizens to vote on whether or not they wanted to make the three branches of government co-equal, but the outcome of the results were not binding since the governor or legislature did not take any further action (Waters 213). Proponents of referendum assert that it represents a real form of democracy and enhances the political participation of the citizens in legislation process. Referendum will check the excesses of the government before the expiry of term of office and provides the solutions to controversial legislation and statutes. Accordingly, referendums are used to legitimize devolution of political power and unite divided political parties (Tierney 256). Initiatives An initiative is a proposal for a new law or constitutional amendment that entails petition through collection of signatures of certain percentage of citizens in the country. Initiatives to the people requires sufficient signatures that are submitted for a vote by the people at the ballot while initiatives to the legislature requires the legislatures to adopt an initiative as proposed without a vote by the people, reject, or refuse to act on the proposed initiative and place it on the ballot for citizens to vote. In addition, the legislature may approve an alternative to the proposed initiative (Boehmke 98). In the USA, 34 states have provided for initiative process with 18 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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