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Separation of Power and Democracy / Left-Right Political Spectrum and Political Ideologies

Separation of Power and Democracy

The separation of power is a theoretical model of governance, and it is commonly implemented in democratic states that are associated with the division of power into different organs: parliament, executive, and judiciary (Raile, Pereira & Power, 2011). Under the separation of power, the governing power should be distributed among the judiciary, executive, and Parliament with the purpose of not allowing a single group having all the power. Furthermore, each of these groups has to work with a defined mandate allowing checking the responsibility and actions of the other. It employs the approach of interdependence since no single organ can operate without the support of the other while the mandates among the organs are completely different.

The separation of roles is crucial because the power is bestowed on the parliament, executive and judiciary (Soroka & Wlezien, 2010). In a democratic society, the role of parliament is to make and amend the law. The executive implements the law while the judiciary makes judgments on the laws, and it also clarifies issues (Samuels & Shugart, 2010; Macdonald & Macdonald, 2010). The composition of parliament, for example, is made of the house of representatives, the Senate; the composition of executive include the ministers, Prime Minister, President, deputy/vice present while the judiciary is composed of an array of court system whether religious or secular (Acemoglu, Golosov & Tsyvinski, 2011). Each of these organs has to implement specific aspects of governing, and collaboration and partnership among these organs are important in advancing the wider objectives of the country/state.

The separation of power is aimed at preventing abuse of power. In a dictatorship or similar power system, the leader or president makes the law, implements the law and passes the judgment (Acemoglu, Golosov & Tsyvinski, 2011). Such an individual can create numerous challenges to the community and country because the individual can use the power to their respective advantage without considering the wider impact to the environment/society (Samuels & Shugart, 2010). However, separation of power ensures each organ is tasked, oversees the role of the other organ, creates a favorable condition for supporting other organs, and ensures overall development of the society. Abuse of power is not possible is such a situation.

Liberty is an integral component of separation of power to prevent problems of concentration of governmental power (Raile, Pereira & Power, 2011). The legislative and executive powers should be separate to encourage liberty and liberty suffer when the same people make and implement the laws (Acemoglu, Golosov & Tsyvinski, 2011). The liberty is directly associated with human dignity has discussed by the founder of the theory: Montesquieu (Soroka & Wlezien, 2010). Montesquieu argued that no liberty would exist when the legislative and executive power is given to the same individual. He presented that an oppressive individual can create oppressive rules and implements them whimsically. In addition, the judicial power should be separated from the executive and legislature. Without the separation, the liberty of the society is affected, which means that democracy does not exist.

The tenet of democracy is allowing the people to make decisions on how they are being ruled or governed (Soroka & Wlezien, 2010). The people have to contribute to the governing system since the concentration of judicial, execute and legislative functions to a body or single individual may result in abuse of authority, which translates to tyrannical behaviors (Raile, Pereira & Power, 2011). Separation of power allows three organs to be created, each power assigned to different persons, and each of these persons has to adhere to fundamentals of the sphere of power (Samuels & Shugart, 2010). The situation may exist in which the legislature, the judiciary, and parliament work from the same perspective because the appointing power is the leader of the executive (Chaisty, Cheeseman & Power, 2014). Such approaches should be avoided in creating a framework that is seen as democratic in that people choose each leader of the organ (Acemoglu, Golosov & Tsyvinski, 2011). For example, the people can choose the leader of executive and members of the legislature during or through the electoral systems while both the executive and legislature contributes towards choosing the leader of judiciary. The process ensures the people determine the different leaders, which advances the fundamentals of democracy.

Separation of power encourages checks and balances. It prevents one organ from becoming supreme, protecting the “minority opulent” and to encourage cooperation (Soroka & Wlezien, 2010). A government system which employs the separation of power ideology has to rely on check and balances whereby each of the organs regulates and checks the limit of another (Samuels & Shugart, 2010). It means that a single organ cannot abuse the frameworks in place since the other organ has the power to correct and adjust any misunderstanding (Acemoglu, Golosov & Tsyvinski, 2011; Raile, Pereira & Power, 2011)). For example, the judiciary can limit the excesses of the executive while the legislature can influence the leadership depending on the ideologies of leadership in the country/state with a focus on democratic variables.

In conclusion, separation of power is important to a democratic state/country. Separation of power allows for the creation of three organs: judiciary, legislature, and parliament, which are tasked with governing a country. Each of these organs has independent roles and powers meaning it has the discretion of advancing the social/political objectives while also focusing on limiting each other power. For example, the legislature makes the law, the executive implements the law, while the judiciary mediates on any complication that may occur during the process. However, these organs have to work in a collaborative and partnership approach to advance the democratic process of checks and balances, rightness of power, effective complaint and problem addressing system, and people making the decisions about their respective leaders. Hence, separation of power fosters and champions democracy.


Acemoglu, D., Golosov, M., & Tsyvinski, A. (2011). Power fluctuations and political economy. Journal of Economic Theory, 146(3), 1009-1041.

Chaisty, P., Cheeseman, N., & Power, T. (2014). Rethinking the ‘presidentialism debate’: conceptualizing coalitional politics in cross-regional perspective. Democratization, 21(1), 72-94.

Macdonald, K., & Macdonald, T. (2010). Democracy in a pluralist global order: Corporate power and stakeholder representation. Ethics & International Affairs, 24(1), 19-43.

Raile, E. D., Pereira, C., & Power, T. J. (2011). The executive toolbox: Building legislative support in a multiparty presidential regime. Political Research Quarterly, 64(2), 323-334.

Samuels, D. J., & Shugart, M. S. (2010). Presidents, parties, and prime ministers: How the separation of powers affects party organization and behavior. London: Cambridge University Press.

Soroka, S. N., & Wlezien, C. (2010). Degrees of democracy: Politics, public opinion, and policy. London: Cambridge University Press.

Left-Right Political Spectrum and Political Ideologies

The left-right political spectrum is the classification of parties, ideologies and political positions. In numerous situations, the right-wing politics and the left-wing politics are seen as opposed, but situations exist in which the view changes/converges or overlaps (Samochowiec, Wänke & Fiedler, 2010). The left-right political spectrum is traced to France and played an important role in French Revolution (Inbar et al., 2012). Some people in France faced numerous challenges of power and their role in the society meaning some people benefited from the system in place while others were disadvantaged, which resulted in diverse views regarding leadership and governing framework.

In the most basic understanding of the political spectrum, the political spectrum is made of a continuum or a line from left to right with numerous shades of opinion in between (Dodd et al., 2012). Most individuals holding the views at the far sides of the spectrum have two specific positions: right or left, without compromise (Samochowiec, Wänke & Fiedler, 2010). Even though understanding the political spectrum can be a challenge, the preferable model is focusing on the left to the right framework. During the French Revolution, the nobility was seated on the right side in parliament while liberal bourgeoisie representatives sat on the left (Piurko, Schwartz & Davidov, 2011). The ideology of right wing meant that people continued to protect the interests and maintain the status quo as established by the wealthy and elites (Jost & Amodio, 2012). However, the left wing continued to demand progress and equality, but the extent of these demands fluctuated from social democrats to liberals who incorporated economic reform to communism (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). For example, the far right championed capitalism while the left focused on social framework of economic developments.

Understanding the left-right political system requires a clear framework, which allows political ideologies to complement each other across countries (Samochowiec, Wänke & Fiedler, 2010). For example, the views of left-wing political spectrum in the European Union should collaborate or be similar with left wing ideologies in America (Piurko, Schwartz & Davidov, 2011). Some of the differentiating variables in regards to the left wing include rights-violating ideologies and changing of systems, which can be implemented through extreme force. Conversely, the right advances rights-respective systems and ideologies without the use of force (Inbar et al., 2012). In addition, the left champions or prefers theocracy, anarchy, fascism, socialism, and pure communism while raising or requiring implementation of their respective views (Dodd et al., 2012). The approach is different in the right wing because the right wing encourages constitutional republicanism, classical liberalism, and capitalism (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). It is evident that left-right political spectrum is premised on maintaining status while the other aims to address the perceived shortcomings of the political system spectrum. Therefore, understanding the left-wing political spectrum requires an understanding of political ideology.

A political ideology is a rational group of views on politics and the role of the government in the entire process. The premise of political ideology is consistent on numerous issues that affect the populace (Piurko, Schwartz & Davidov, 2011). The political ideologies are tired to left-right political spectrum, but countries such as United States of America does not have a clear distinction because of the presence of liberals, conservatives, and moderates (Jost & Amodio, 2012). The liberal argument is to ensure the government is small and focuses on few areas rather than influencing the American life such as personal morality, community lie and economy (Dodd et al., 2012). The conservatives feel the government has extended its limits and embracing deregulation, reduction in expenses on social programs and lowering taxes are important (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). The moderates stay within these limits, but it is evident there is not a clear distinction between the right and left wing ideologies.

The significance of understanding political ideology is the provision of a moral framework in which an individual can view the world (Feldman & Johnston, 2014). The moral framework accords the moral values to a specific hierarchy. For instance, Fascism champion nation’s duty above an individual freedom, Communism focuses on equality more than liberty while capitalism focuses on economic freedom rather than social justice (Dodd et al., 2012). Hence, the political ideology provides a frame of understanding the societal values and variables. However, relying on political ideologies creates challenges such as restrictiveness and highly dogmatic (Piurko, Schwartz & Davidov, 2011). The situations and circumstances are different, but the ideologies focus the society/context to focus on a specific moral hierarchy (Jost & Amodio, 2012). It is evident political ideologies have shortcomings and weakness, but taking the relativistic view, the idea of political ideologies is to “force” people to champion a specific moral framework (Inbar et al., 2012). An individual may see his/her political ideologies are superior compared to the alternative, which may contribute to conflicts and misunderstanding (Samochowiec, Wänke & Fiedler, 2010). The solution is perseverance and understanding the passions and expectations of different political, ideological views.

In conclusion, political ideologies influence the opinions, actions, and behaviors of people. The left-right political spectrum presents a situation whereby people want meeting their respective requirements and aims based on situations and contexts. The left wing political spectrum wants to change and equality while the right-wing political spectrum wants the maintenance of the status quo. Without arriving at a specific conclusion, problems and rifts emerge resulting in conflicts and wars as indicated in the numerous revolutions. Left-right political spectrum is tied to political ideologies. Fixed political ideologies also create additional problems meaning perseverance and understanding each other is important. It is imperative to appreciate changing and flexible opinions in addressing misunderstanding or problems, which means that the political framework and system should be responsive to the political and social changes.


Dodd, M. D., Balzer, A., Jacobs, C. M., Gruszczynski, M. W., Smith, K. B., & Hibbing, J. R. (2012). The political left rolls with the good and the political right confronts the bad: connecting physiology and cognition to preferences. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 367(1589), 640-649.

Feldman, S., & Johnston, C. (2014). Understanding the determinants of political ideology: Implications of structural complexity. Political Psychology, 35(3), 337-358.

Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D., Iyer, R., & Haidt, J. (2012). Disgust sensitivity, political conservatism, and voting. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3(5), 537-544.

Jost, J. T., & Amodio, D. M. (2012). Political ideology as motivated social cognition: Behavioral and neuroscientific evidence. Motivation and Emotion, 36(1), 55-64.

Piurko, Y., Schwartz, S. H., & Davidov, E. (2011). Basic personal values and the meaning of left‐right political orientations in 20 countries. Political Psychology, 32(4), 537-561.

Samochowiec, J., Wänke, M., & Fiedler, K. (2010). Political ideology at face value. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(3), 206-213.