The global swift towards democracy in the final quarter of the twentieth century represented the dramatic change in the political climate of the globe that has ever been recorded – and appeared to mean the extinction of the authoritarian regimes. (Caramani 2008, p. 136)
The political system of the country consists of the following elements: state institutes, groups of interest (for instance, political parties), and the legal rules that regulate the functions and relations of the mentioned players. The formal and informal structures of the state define the character of statehood. The state and the political system have different meaning and the political system may change during the existence of the certain state
The one of the characteristics of any political system is a set of policies rules and procedures that defines the character of this system and the way it functions. Also, the different political systems may differ by their citizens culture, territorial organization, property policies, etc. According to Caramani (2008, p.86), the policies differ in numerous, relevant aspects and relate with each other in a friendly or antagonistic way and it emphasizes the differences between certain policies.
I should mention that the most famous example of the authoritarian regime in the modern world is the world’s most populated country – People’s Republic of China. I’m going to research this example of the authoritarian political system and compare it with the one of the most recent democratic states which is the Republic of South Africa.
South Africa is defined by Hauss (2006, p.23) as an industrialized democracy, because it is aimed to become open, accountable and transparent state. The political system of South Africa is built in accordance to the major democratic principles, such as:
• Basic human rights and freedoms allowance
• Fair, free and competitive elections
• The rule of law
• Strong civil society and civil culture
• Capitalism and affluent economy (Hauss 2006, p.28)
The state institutes of the democratic political system such as South Africa are designed to ensure that society is able to influence the state decisions. Besides it, the power is usually divided between the different branches of the state institutes in order to save the democratic ruling. This country is parliamentary republic, it has its own democratic constitution and the elected President (this person is also the head of government). The President of South Africa is chosen by the the National Assembly which is the lower house of the Parliament of the country.
On the contrary to the democratic political system of South Africa, Chinese authoritarian political system may be defined as one party-rule socialistic organizational dictatorship (in accordance with the characteristics that were indicated by Caramani 2008, p.143). According to Chinese Constitution, Communist Party of China is the only one political party of this country.
Let’s compare the centralization of power in discussed political systems. Democratic state system isn’t strictly centralized and provincial administrations also have certain political powers. The democratic garment doesn’t need to have a 100% control over the nation.
On the contrary, autocratic political system is very centralized. The local governments have to obey the central policy directives and they are under the strict control. Autocratic political system has a very interesting particularity: the authorities may have an appropriate support among its citizen or may not but in any case they were not elected through free elections, therefore the real popularity and support can’t be assessed.