Democracy In Focus

Bolivia's first president, Evo Morales, has recently been removed from office after 14 years in power after facing acquisitions of a election fraud; declaring himself president even when a clear winner was yet to be decided. What followed was a month of unrest in the country, forcing Morales to seek asylum in Mexico. Jeanine Áñez has been sworn in to act as an interim president until new elections are held.

What is democracy?

First, we can distinguish between what we call social democracy and formal or political democracy. The first comes from an idea of morality or justice, and consists in the aspiration for civil and social equality of individuals in a community. It is the idea traditionally vindicated by progressive or left-wing ideologies. It is also called "horizontal democracy" (horizontalidad in Spanish speaking countries). The second is a concrete form of government, and we can define it as the institutional guarantee of political freedom. It is also called "vertical democracy."

For a political democracy to exist, basic conditions are necessary:

  1. De facto separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers
  2. Representativeness, through electoral laws, of civil society

If any of the conditions are missing, the government is undemocratic.