The Citizen Handbook


Introduction


Democracy and Governance

Democracy

Democracy refers to a system of government based on people’s consent, also known as the ‘will of the people’. Simply put, democracy means rule by the people. The basic principles of democracy include the following:

  • recognition that power belongs in the hands of the people;
  • the greatest possible freedom for all;
  • a just society;
  • the same rules for all;
  • equality before the law;
  • respect for the rule of law; and
  • equal opportunity for all.
In a democracy, people govern themselves either directly through voting by referendum or indirectly through representatives they elect to make decisions for them. Democracy also applies to decision making at the local level and through interactions between citizens.

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