Election and Democracy

When you live in a country without democracy for generations, you will get used to it. Democracy will make no sense for you. You will not comprehend its meaning.

Whenever I go to a local election, I have no idea about where the candidates come from, what their backgrounds are, and how they will represent my interests. Ironically, I don’t care much about elections in my country because it’s just a “rhetoric” of the dictatorship regime. As there is only one political party, I have no choice. The country is supposed to pertain to the Marxist-Leninist ideologies. Awkwardly, those ideologies insist that conflict is the utmost catalyst for development. Meanwhile, the prerequisites of a conflict are two contradictory sides, meaning that at least 2 parties to compete with each other like the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in the US or CDU and SPD in Germany. In quest of democracy, let’s get to know about the political systems and elections in the US and Germany.

The US political system is constituted of the presidency, the judiciary and the legislature. It is a federal republic in which the President, Congress, and federal courts share powers reserved to the national government. While the President works as the CEO of a company, legislative power is vested in the 2 chambers of Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the judicial branch, including the Supreme Court and lower federal courts, exercises judicial power, interpreting the US Constitution and federal laws and regulations. Should there be any disputes between the President and the Congress, the Supreme Court is to resolve.

In Germany, the Parliament plays a critical role while the Chancellor holds executive power. The President mostly plays a ceremonial role. Germany is a democratic, federal parliamentary republic. Legislative power is vested in the Bundestag or the Parliament. Germany has 19 states and 9 parties in the Bundestag, which is composed of 598 seats. Election is organized on a four-year basis to select members of the Bundestag. Then, they will appoint the Chancellor. Normally, the dominant party will get the position of the Chancellor. For the recent decades, SPD, currently led by Martin Schulz, and CDU, currently led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, are the 2 dominant parties. In the federal election, a resident votes twice on one ballot. The first time is for the regional representative (250,000 residents each region), accounting for 298 seats in the Bundestag. The second time is for the party, accounting for the rest of 298 seats in the Bundestag. Each party will allocate representatives to each region. The election is based on 5 principles: general, direct, free, equal, and secret vote, and of course, underpinned by the true sense of democracy.



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