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Barbados – the world’s newest republic

Context:

Nearly 400 years after the country became a British colony, Barbados has become the world’s newest republic.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Barbados
  2. What does republic mean?
  3. Difference between Democracy and Republic

About Barbados

  • Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of the Americas, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands.
  • It is in the western part of the North Atlantic, east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Barbados is outside the principal Atlantic hurricane belt.
  • While it is an Atlantic island, Barbados is closely associated with the Caribbean and is ranked as one of its leading tourist destinations.

 

What does republic mean?

  • A republic is defined as “a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.”
  • Many of today’s democracies are also republics, and are even referred to as democratic republics. So, the US and France are considered both democracies and republics—both terms point to the fact that the power of governance rests in the people, and the exercise of that power is done through some sort of electoral representation.
  • The key concept to the word republic is that the leader of this government (or state) is not a hereditary monarch but a president, whether they are elected or installed.
  • This core idea helps explain in part why autocratic governments like North Korea is officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Its citizens vote (or “vote”) on a single candidate.
  • A historical example of a republic is also instructive. The Republic of Venice, a mercantile city-state of the Middle Ages, was led by a doge who was elected by wealthy merchants and served until his death. Neither of these governments would be considered a democracy.

Difference between Democracy and Republic

DemocracyRepublic
In Democracy the people have the power to themselvesIn Republic form of Government, the power belongs to individual citizens
There are 3 major types of democracy namely Direct democracy, Representative Democracy and Constitutional DemocracyThere are 5 types of Republics namely Constitutional Republic, Parliamentary Republic, Presidential Republic, Federal Republic and Theocratic Republic
In a democratic system of Government all laws are made by the majority (representatives/ people)In the Republic form of Government, the laws are made by those who are elected representatives of the people of the land.
A country can have more than 1 type of democracyA country can also have more than 1 type of Republic
It is the will of the majority that has the right to override the existing rightsIn the Republic system of Government, the Constitution protects the rights so no will of people can over-ride any rights.
Democracy majorly focuses on the general will of the peopleRepublic mainly focuses on the Constitution
There are no constraints on the Government in a DemocracyThere are constraints on the Government in a Republic (bound by the Constitution)

-Source: The Hindu

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