In our lesson today we have been going on talking about democracy , and specifically about forms of political organization. Besides, we have arranged the attendance to the market on the 17th. As regards to the first point we have talked about The State, which has beeb defined as “an institution of political and legal character, which covers a certain territory and which is entrusted to establish the laws and to enforce them”. We have also mentioned that the State, since modern times, is divided into three powers:
Legislative power, whose power resides in the Parliament, which has legal authority to elaborate laws.
Legal power, whose power resides in the judges and tribunals, who are in charge of administering justice by means of applying the laws.
Executive power, whose power resides in the Government, which has legal authority to rule the administrative life of a country.
We have also commented that the form of government form of political organization, refers to the model of organization of power which a State adopts, according to the relationship existing among the different powers and we have seen that there is not a fixed and exhaustive classification. So, we can talk about democracies, dictatorships, republics and monarchies.
We talk about democracy in a State when it has the division among the legislative, executive and legal power. On the other hand, we talk about a dictatorship when such division does not exist, and these powers turn around an only individual (dictator) who exerts the power himself, arbitrarily in benefit of a minority who supports him.
We talk about Monarchy, when the Head of State is personal, held for life and hereditary. On the other hand, we talk about a Republic when the Head of State is not held for life and hereditary, but is reached by election. Both monarchies and republics can be democracies or dictatorships.
As you will probably recall, in our last lesson we had mentioned that democracy was, out of all the government systems, the only one compatible with the values proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, since only democratic systems fulfill the 21st article of this declaration. And we had also seen that current democracies are representative ones.
Well, within representative democracies, for its part, we can distinguish between the form of relationship among the executive, legislative and judicial powers, between presidential and parliamentary democracy.
Presidential democracy tends to establish the maximum possible separation among the executive, legislative and judicial powers and o create a wide plurality of organisms and institutions which restrain the governing powers. In the presidential democracy, the president is the head of State.
The most evident example of presidential democracy is theUSA. There is a radical separation between the legislative and the executive power, held by the president, elected directly by the citizens for a four-year period, and being only substituted by the vice president, in case of death or disability.
In the parliamentary democracy, unlike the presidential one, supremacy corresponds to the legislative power, since executive power is subject to the authority of the Parliament, which freely, can overthrow it. In this case the head of State, does not usually have real executive powers, since most of these powers have been granted to the Head of Estate, called Prime Minister or President. The Parliament is the Legislative power, which emerges from the will of the people through direct election. The Government is the executive power and emerges from the parliamentary majority, although this one usually has legislative initiative before the Parliament. Justice is administrated in the name of the people by judges and magistrates, who are independent, non removable, responsible and just subject to the dictates of law.
According to our Constitution, Spainis a parliamentary monarchy. The King is the Head of Estate, but the government is elected by the Parliament. In our parliamentary monarchy, the Crown, which the King holds, represents the Estate, but the King cannot make laws, does not rule the Estate political life and cannot judge, either. His function is to advise, drive and warn those who hold these functions: the Parliament, the Executive or Government and the Courts.
The King´s post is held for life, and hereditary; in addition, he cannot either be accounted for his political performance, or consequently, can be forced to abdicate. Besides, due to the fact that our Constitution recognizes the right to nationalities and regions to constitute into Autonomous Communities,Spainadopts a form of decentralized organization which gives a self governing margin to each Autonomous Community. The Statute of Autonomy collects the institutions, regulations and competences through which each Autonomous Community is ruled and through which the necessary resources from the Central Administration to exercise them, are provided.
Every autonomous region is constituted by a Parliament, a President and a Government. In the case of our Autonomous Community the Statute of Autonomy w as passed on the Organic Law 7 / 1981, of the Organic Statute for Asturias, and came into effect on the 30th of January 1982.
We have seen that democracy is a kind of government, but it should be something else. It should be a lifestyle, a culture, a scale of values… whose aim were to promote human beings´ liberty and happiness, through participating in politics. In addition, democracy should not only be valid for taking part in politics, but also for all the other areas where people carry out our activities (family, school, work, sport, etc…) and needs a formative and educational process. The activity proposed today is the following: you must write an essay which mentions coherently, the following questions:
Is the State necessary? Why?
What does the separation of powers imply?
Which forms of governments do you know? Explain.
Which forms of government has theSpanishStatehad?
Why is Spanish democracy representative?
Make a list of political parties you know and point out who its leaders are and which its ideologies are.
Give an example of democratic behavior and another antidemocratic in the area of your class in Education for Citizenship.
What is a dictatorship? Point out its differences with democracy.
Is there any relationship between democracy and human rights? Explain.