Constitutional Democracy


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In today’s class, we will be talking about constitutional democracy. Enjoy the class!

Constitutional Democracy

Constitutional Democracy

Constitutional democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people which is based on the supremacy of the constitution. It can also be explained as a democratic system in which the will of the people prevail, there fundamental human rights recognized and protected and the principle of rule of law strictly adhered to.

Types of constitutional democracy

  1. Direct democracy:

This is also known as classical democracy. It is a form of democracy in which all adult citizens take an active part in the management and political running of the state. This type of democracy was practised in Athens, the ancient city of Greece.

  1. Indirect democracy:

This is also called representative democracy. This form of democracy is built on the principle of majority rule because it allows a few elected representatives to make decisions and formulate policies on behalf of the people. In other words, representative democracy is a type of democracy in which registered and qualified electorates vote during an election to determine who will represent their interest in government.

Representative government becomes important and replace direct democracy as a result of the complexity in the structure and system of the modern state or society which has made the direct form of democracy in-appropriate and ineffective. Virtually all state in the world practising democracy today operates a representative democracy.


Explain the types of constitutional democracy.

Features of constitutional democracy

  • Popular sovereignty:

In a constitutional democracy, people possess the final political authority in making decisions that relate to public issues. They also have the power to remove any of their representatives that fail to represent their interest in government by not voting for such candidates in subsequent elections. Thus, the citizens’ opinion should be respected in a true democracy.

  • Majority rule:

Democracy is a game of number, the candidate who enjoys popular acceptance by getting the highest vote usually wins the election. The principle of majority rule further explains that government decisions must reflect popular interests and opinion of the people.

  • Minority right:

In a true democracy, the majority have their way and minority have their say. The interest and opinion of the people who are in the minority group are usually unpopular and as a result, they tend to be intimidated. However, constitutional democracy ensures that the minority interest is protected and their opinion listened to. It also ensures that everybody in the state enjoys their fundamental human rights as provided by the constitution.

  • Rule of law:

Constitutional democracy operates with the principle of rule of law which states that everybody is equal before the law and that the law of a state is supreme.

  • Periodic election:

Constitutional democracy is characterized by a regular and periodic election. This election must be free and fair, and the electoral body must be allowed to operate independently without interference.

  • Equal access to  political opportunities:

In a constitutional democracy, everybody has equal rights to vote and contest during an election. The voting during an election must be one man, one vote. Also, sex and socio-economic status should not be used as a means of political discrimination.

  • Independent judiciary:

The judiciary in a constitutional democracy operates as an independent body which is free from the influence of the executive and legislative arms of government.

General evaluation
  1. Define constitutional democracy.
  2. State and explain the features of constitutional democracy.
  3. What is independence of the judiciary?
  4. Explain rule of law.
  5. Mention the principles of rule of law.

Reading assignment

Read on Constitutional Democracy and its Features in Fundamentals of Civic Education for Senior Secondary School by Sola Akinyemi.


  1. State three benefits of constitutional democracy.
  2. Mention two disadvantages of constitutional democracy.


In our next class, we will be talking about the Civil Service.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you have any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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