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Whether Political Parties Are Important to Effective Governance in a Liberal Democratic Society (Essay Sample)

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The task was to write an essay discussing the role of political parties in contributing to effective governance in democratic countries.

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Whether Political Parties Are Important to Effective Governance in a Liberal Democratic Society
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Introduction
Effective and good governance encompasses participatory leadership involving the public and other stakeholders in decision-making process on how they are governed (National Democratic Institute, 2013). It also describes the model through which political party institutions are monitored and evaluated with regard to accountability, responsiveness, efficiency, equity and inclusivity, and the application of the rule of law to the needs of the people. In liberal democratic societies, political parties apart from other agencies, serve as a linkage for people to organize themselves to ensure that good governance is achieved by articulating pressing issues to be addressed. Effective governance in liberal democratic societies requires the mature use of political parties in a well-regulated legal environment to act as a means of strengthening democracy, accountability, and transparency on the part of the ruling government. Political parties usually provide alternative leadership and platform to citizens upon which to air their needs through a widened democratic space of voicing concerns. This paper looks at importance of political parties in ensuring effective and good governance in liberal democratic societies.
Role of political parties in Developed democracies like the USA
The national Democratic Institute (2013) emphasizes among other things the importance of political parties to provide effective governance in democratic and liberal societies. It is imperative to underscore the fact that citizens of various countries across the world have different needs, interests and challenges to which they expect governments’ response to solve. In democratic and liberal societies, political parties sum up these kinds of demands by the people from diverse public groups and articulate these issues by formulating coherent policies to tackle them. In their attempts to influence and control public policies, political parties act as bridges that link the citizens to elected representatives and primarily put reigning governments on accountability check. Political parties therefore through these noble roles give alternatives for effective governance.
Under mature and responsible democracies and liberal societies, political parties offer alternative leadership opportunities to the electorate (National Democratic Institue, 2013). During the general elections in which the latter decide on the political parties and candidates that optimally present proposals that, address their needs. The elected party candidates thereafter perpetuate and implement the party proposals and policies upon which they campaigned by legislative or executive institutions or just by influencing the process of implementation. Political parties provide effective governance not only through creating an opportunity for public judgment during elections but also by giving the public opportunity to judge the performance of their elected leaders and the political parties. Furthermore, political parties in liberal democracies present a platform of a two-way information flow to the citizens throughout the entire political cycle. This kind of communication system enables the citizens to monitor their publicly elected leaders and the government performance.
Political parties’ principles and policies act as unitary factors to enhance nationalism and social justice. Several major political parties often formulate policies to address economic issues especially by agitating for free market economies. However, it is not always true that all the policies articulated by political parties are perfect but they are limited to certain extent to which the government of the day should prudently take action with regard to rectifying potential shortcomings in the free market economies. Some political parties also provide alternatives to environmental impacts such as climate change by underscoring the fact that clean environment is a function of responsible human conduct to ensure a sound environmental protection and planned resource management. Even though there are other agencies that can articulate societal needs to the government for redress; like social safety nets, religious groups and emerging issues and the public service, political parties often provide the most effective governance since they act like shadow government hence are less likely to be compromised. Effective governance can be enhanced when political parties and civil society work in tandem for shared goals and responsibilities in actively participating and mobilizing the public to get involved in the quest for democracy and improved governance (Scholte, 2002). Based on this, it is clear that the existence of political parties offer a greater opportunity for democratization and advocacy on good governance
The role of political parties in Europe and their regulations for effective governance
There is one conventional normative understanding of political parties as the surest means of expressing modern democracy for the last fifty years (Molenaar, 2010). This unchallenged mentality of democratic understanding has even become a synonymous academic understanding thus leading to focus of particular political parties’ manifestations and the consequent democratic implications of these manifestations. Another focus is on the relationship between the civil society and the political parties, which has for a long time determined the characteristic political parties in the context of party research. This kind of relationship forms two levels of groups as elite party and mass party. When the relationship between the political parties and the civil society groups is weakened, the consequence is such that political parties are thus anchored within the state. In this case, the meaning of democracy may merely be taken as a service rendered by the state to the civil society in election contests. The state therefore eventually transforms itself into collusion with cartel parties, with increased state support to political parties hence making them public utility organizations. Political parties are important in ensuring effective governance in liberal and democratic societies but not until proper laws and regulations are enacted to guide their operations. These laws are such that they can be totally proscribing political parties through prohibition, permitting free operation of political parties , providing support to promote political parties, favoring some political parties over other or just restricting and prescribing some kind of behavior for political parties. The European Union has developed rules that protect all political parties whether ruling or opposition hence widening the democratic space for the parties.
A case in point is the Communist Party of Turkey vs. Turkey in which the Turkish government banned the opposition party but an appeal at the European Court of Human Rights rescinded the Turkish court decision (Molenaar, 2010). The European Court of Human Rights remarked the role that political parties play and their contribution to democratic and liberal societies that leaves the state with only slim authority in deciding on matters touching on freedom of association. This kind of ruling was in resonance with the European supervisory regulations which embrace both the rule of law and applicable decisions together with those rendered by the independent courts. According to this case, the importance of political parties in ensuring effective governance in liberal and democratic societies cannot be overstated.
Political Parties Promoting Effective Governance in Asia: Bangladesh Perspective
Democracy can be strengthened if national institutions and processes are transparent, robust, and accountable (Shakil & Marzia, 2013). Many governments of the day have often-frustrated efforts of fair play in political contests especially in elections where many political parties participate. Political parties through their agitation and effective governance within their own quarters may present a serious challenge to the ruling parting by wooing the voters with sound proposals on policies for change. In this way, transparency and accountability may be attained. For example, political parties of the opposition can demand for a right to appoint half of the election official in their country and the government appoints the remaining half thereby leading to a transparent electoral process, and making the ruling party remain accountable to the public for fear of losing the next election. For good governance to be achieved, there is need to allow room for free operation and participation of political parties in all important activities in such as elections and important decision making processes. Political parties provide the framework for people’s participation thus enhancing the positive transformation of government functions and enhancing social justice.
According to Kochanek (2000), effective good governance can only be achieved if political parties are strengthened. Political parties strengthening can take the form of capacity building, political parties funding, and enacting sound laws and regulations to regulate the conduct of political parties so that they are not abused by cartels. Apart from highlighting the importance of the judiciary, legislature, and the strengthening of public awareness and civil society, the article also indicates that effective governance can be achieved through giving free operation atmosphere and recognizing the right of association of political parties. Other national institutions like the electoral bodies, the security agencies, and the judiciary should uphold maximum impartiality to both the ruling party and other political parties so that there is fair...
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