When the idea of democracy was first conceived in ancient Greece, its core principle was to give ordinary citizens the power to rule their country.
Democracy as a political system has long been symbolised by this power to vote, but it is so much more.
It is about the right to participate in regular, free and fair elections; it entails equal treatment under the law; it presupposes that there are certain basic liberties that cannot be infringed upon and it requires active citizen participation.
Strong democratic institutions, in the form of the legislative, the executive and the judiciary, are the hallmark of a functioning democracy.
Democracy also requires active participation by citizens. It depends on the rational choices made by the people - in voting, for example.
Different political parties will win the legitimacy to rule through voting and elections; thus, it is the responsibility of the people to be well informed on which party best represents them and their interests.
The right to vote is merely a small aspect of democracy, albeit an important one. Democracy also means being accountable to the people and serving their interests.
Lee Meng Hon, 19,
full-time national serviceman
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