HOW DO ELECTIONS PROMOTE DEMOCRACY?
Elections promote democracy principally by providing representation. The electorate can choose parliamentary representatives, from whom the majority party may form a government, and dismiss those representatives if they fail to represent the people according to their wishes. The electorate can remove from these representatives their mandate to govern.
Elections also promote democracy by enabling competing parties to put forward their manifesto ideas. This not only allows pluralist groups a chance to voice their opinions, but also acts as a way of educating the voters. In the run-up to elections, the electorate is informed in a number of different ways, including party election broadcasts on radio and television, manifestos, leaflets, canvassing, posters and even loudspeakers on street corners.
The result of all these tactics, in a democracy, should be to prevent government from implementing extreme policies, and for the election to act as a legitimate means of gaining power. It is also worth noting that sovereignty returns (briefly) to the people on the day of the election, and this in itself promotes democracy as people are reminded of their duty to vote.