by Charlie ~
Getting Political for Wodehouse!
| Select two different countries of your choice and do a comparison of their political parties and election processes. |
For this section, I'll be comparing the political parties and election processes of Sierra Leone in West Africa and Finland in Northern Europe.
Sierra Leone just came out of over a decade of civil war in 2002 with the help of the UN and Britain. The war resulted in over 50,000 deaths In 2010, the UN Security Council declared Sierra Leone's government to be fully re-established.
The form of government is a constitutional democracy. The most popular political parties in Sierra Leone are All People's Congress (APC), Peace and Liberation Party (PLP), People's Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), and United Democratic Movement (UDM). There are several other political parties as well.
In Sierra Leone, the election process is done by popular vote. The elected president then becomes both the head of state and the head of government. The President then appoint the Ministers of State with the approval of the House of Representatives. Terms are limited to two terms of five years each. In order to become President, a candidate must have at least 55% of the popular votes. If none of the candidates receive 55% or more of the popular votes during the first election, a second round of elections takes place with only the top two candidates on the ballot.
The current President/Head of State/Head of Government is Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC) party. He was elected to presidency in 2007. In 2012, he won his second and final five-year term of presidency. A new election will be held in 2017 with all new candidates.
While Sierre Leone has seen decades of hardship, Finland is rated as the third least corrupt country according to transparency.org. They elected their first female president, Tarja Halonen in 2000 and she served until 2012.
Finland has a republic government. The most popular political parties are Center Party (Kesk), Christian Democrats (KD), Green League (Vihr), Left Alliance (Vas), National Coalition Party (Kok) [[yes, seriously]], Social Democratic Party (SDP), Swedish People's Party (SFP), and The Finns Party (PS).
The election process in Finland is done by popular vote, the same as Sierra Leone. Each term is six years and a president can hold two terms. The President picks the Prime Minister who must be approved by Parliament. The Prime Minister then appoints the rest of the cabinet.
The current Chief of State/President is Sauli Niinisto, who was elected in March of 2012 and belongs to the Green League (Vihr) party. The current Head of Government/Prime Minister is Cai-Goran Alexander Stubb, elected in June of 2014.
Give a brief summary of each of these types of systems of government and examples of countries that adopt(ed) them:
Democracy- In a democracy, all eligible citizens have an equal say in decisions affecting their lives. Citizens are able to participate equally through elected representatives. By definition, it means "government by people." In a democracy, citizens have protected human rights and all laws apply equally to all citizens. Examples would be the United States of America, France, Germany, South Africa, and India.
Autocracy- An autocracy is where supreme power is in the hands of one person. Another word for it would be a dictatorship, where popular opinion does not matter. Examples would be Syria, China, North Korea, Laos, and Saudi Arabia.
Despotism- This one is related to autocracy. It is a government that is ruled by a single entity with absolute power, but a despot can refer to a small group instead of just one individual. It is also thought to be more cruel than an autocracy. Depending which study you're looking at, North Korea and China have also been called despots. Others might include Venezuela, Sudan, and Sri Lanka.
Oligarchy- In an oligarchy, the power rests with a small number of people. Oligarchy countries are often ruled by a few prominent families who pass their power on from generation to generation. Those in power are often distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, or religious/military control. The former Soviet Union is the most famous example of an oligarchy. The U.S. has also been accused of being an oligarchy because of the substantial income inequalities.
Monarchy- This one is a form of government where single family rules generation to generation, but a single individual personifies the power. When there were kings and queens, this was the most common form of government. Examples would be the United Kingdom, where there is still a Monarchy, but they do not make up laws anymore. Other examples would be Monaco, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
Theocracy- A theocracy is where government is ruled by priests in the name of deities. A good example would be Vatican City. Others would be Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Sudan.