The democratic challenges of good political leaders

Our countries are important to us and we should all choose the right politician to run it. The right one should be smart. Not only does he lead the country to success but he also represents all people in that country. That’s why we should all vote only for people who have the knowledge.


Our countries are an important part of our lives, it’s where we live and work. Anything that affects our country, it will affect us directly. Politicians are important people who run our countries; they should have special characteristics to be in those positions. Some people think that a politician should be honest. Others think that he should have courage. In my view, I believe that a politician should be a smart person for two important reasons.

The main reason is that a smart politician will lead the country to the success. No matter the politician position is president, governor, the prime minister, or senator; they all should be smart to run their positions in a way that help the country to be the best among others. Second, the politician represents the people who elect him. A smart politician would be the best person to represent others.

Corruption is one of the world’s largest obstacles to economic development and growth. Research shows that corruption no doubt have serious adverse effects on economic growth, inequality and poverty and on the allocation of public spending on education, health and infrastructure. The United Nations Convention on Corruption entered into force in 2005 and provides a framework for state parties to fight corruption. It helps both to engage in dialogue and to cooperate with other countries on a topic that is usually perceived as difficult to discuss.


Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world.

The growing intrusion of media into the political domain in many countries has led critics to worry about the approach of the “media-driven republic,” in which mass media will usurp the functions of political institutions in the liberal state. However, close inspection of the evidence reveals that political institutions in many nations have retained their functions in the face of expanded media power. The best description of the current situation is “mediatization,” where political institutions increasingly are dependent on and shaped by mass media but nevertheless remain in control of political processes and functions.

In the second half of the 20th century, democracies had taken root in the most difficult circumstances possible—in Germany, which had been traumatised by Nazism, in India, which had the world’s largest population of poor people, and, in the 1990s, in South Africa, which had been disfigured by apartheid. Decolonialisation created a host of new democracies in Africa and Asia, and autocratic regimes gave way to democracy in Greece (1974), Spain (1975), Argentina (1983), Brazil (1985) and Chile (1989). The collapse of the Soviet Union created many fledgeling democracies in central Europe. By 2000 Freedom House, an American think-tank, classified 120 countries, or 63% of the world total, as democracies.

Democracy today faces many challenges: increasing political inequality, the decline of widespread political participation, voter incompetence, the increasing power of non-majoritarian organisations and institutions on the domestic and global stages, the rise of global problems requiring multilateral collective action, the growing need for specialised expertise in an increasingly complex public policy environment, and the existence of often radical forms of social, political, and moral pluralism all combine to exert significant pressure on existing democratic regimes.

Representatives of more than 100 countries gathered at the World Forum on Democracy in Warsaw that year to proclaim that “the will of the people” was “the basis of the authority of government”. A report issued by America’s State Department declared that having seen off “failed experiments” with authoritarian and totalitarian forms of government, “it seems that now, at long last, democracy is triumphant.”

The progress seen in the late 20th century has stalled in the 21st. Even though around 40% of the world’s population, more people than ever before, live in countries that will hold free and fair elections this year, democracy’s global advance has come to a halt, and may even have gone into reverse. Freedom House reckons that 2013 was the eighth consecutive year in which global freedom declined and that its forward march peaked around the beginning of the century. Between 1980 and 2000 the cause of democracy experienced only a few setbacks, but since 2000 there have been many. And democracy’s problems run deeper than mere numbers suggest. Many nominal democracies have slid towards autocracy, maintaining the outward appearance of democracy through elections, but without the rights and institutions that are equally important aspects of a functioning democratic system.

Functioning democracies provide meaningful opportunities for citizens to communicate their concerns to decision makers and thereby effectively track the will of the people. Democratic government is self-government: citizens are free in so far as they live as equals under institutions and laws which are accountable to them and which they could change or reject if they so wished.

Faith in democracy flares up in moments of triumph, such as the overthrow of unpopular regimes in Cairo or Kiev, only to sputter out once again. Outside the West, democracy often advances only to collapse. And within the West, democracy has too often become associated with debt and dysfunction at home and overreach abroad. Democracy has always had its critics, but now old doubts are being treated with renewed respect as the weaknesses of democracy in its Western strongholds, and the fragility of its influence elsewhere, have become increasingly apparent. Why has democracy lost its forward momentum?

Globalisation has changed national politics profoundly. National politicians have surrendered ever more power, for example over trade and financial flows, to global markets and supranational bodies, and may thus find that they are unable to keep promises they have made to voters. International organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the European Union have extended their influence. There is a compelling logic to much of this: how can a single country deal with problems like climate change or tax evasion? National politicians have also responded to globalisation by limiting their discretion and handing power to unelected technocrats in some areas. The number of countries with independent central banks, for example, has increased from about 20 in 1980 to more than 160 today.

What do we do about this? Do we need a new theory of democracy? Or do we need reforms capable of realising the conventional ideal?

Adjusting to hard times will be made even more difficult by a growing cynicism towards politics. Party membership is declining across the developed world: only 1% of Britons are now members of political parties compared with 20% in 1950. Voter turnout is falling, too: a study of 49 democracies found that it had declined by 10 percentage points between 1980-84 and 2007-13.

The need for hard-headedness is particularly pressing when establishing a nascent democracy. One reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is that they put too much emphasis on elections and too little on the other essential features of democracy. The power of the state needs to be checked, for instance, and individual rights such as freedom of speech and freedom to organise must be guaranteed. The most successful new democracies have all worked in large part because they avoided the temptation of totalitarianism, the notion that winning an election entitles the majority to do whatever it pleases.

But reformers need to be much more ambitious. The best way to constrain the power of special interests is to limit the number of goodies that the state can hand out. And the best way to address popular disillusion towards politicians is to reduce the number of promises they can make.

The world is full of aspiring political leaders but sadly, very few live up to the leadership ideals. In fact, many political leaders seem to severely lack some of the most important leadership qualities, such as integrity and accountability. It is no coincidence that for many people, the word “politician” has such negative connotations! However, history and present-day show us that there are still a few who come close to the leadership ideals and who are good examples of an effective political leader.

Leadership in the political framework requires a focus on the long-term good of a country, above and ahead of any personal short-term gains. Good political leadership requires a combination of charisma and integrity, as well as the ability to assess a situation and make a decision based on what would be best for the greatest number of people. Most of all, leadership in a political framework requires ‘statesmanship’ as opposed to just being a ‘politician’ this means having the integrity and willingness to stand up for what is right, even if it means resigning a position in government or losing an election.

Our countries are important to us and we should all choose the right politician to run it. The right one should be smart. Not only does he lead the country to success but he also represents all people in that country. That’s why we should all vote only for people who have the knowledge.