I don’t see the need to talk about the positive features of Democracy as these are often repeated by various countries and media outlets…the most prominent of which is that transition of power that takes place without the shed of blood or armed conflicts. But seldom do we hear about the shortcomings of Democracy, some of which are:
1. Funding of election campaigns: As presidential, parliamentarian, or congressional campaigns are costly, candidates end up having to rely on donations and contributions from corporations, individuals, or even countries. In return, politicians have to give something back even as a token of gratitude; and to ensure the financial support in the next round of elections. Needless to say, this makes these corporations, individuals, or countries the biggest benefactors.
2. Buying voters’ votes: Voters vary in eduction and knowledge of the political and economic situation. Therefore, voters will find it nearly impossible to differentiate amongst candidates objectively. As a result, they end up voting for the candidate who pays them or their districts more.
3. The concept of majority: The Democratic system is based on the notion of “majority rules”. However, the majority’s opinion is not necessarily the right one. The Qur’an alludes to this fact when Allah says, “but most of them comprehend not”, “Most of them are ignorant”, etc.
4. Seeking the pleasure of the people, even if they’re incorrect: This is seen by candidates who always claim that they’re representatives of the “mainstream”. The political position is thus tailored by the politician to fit the “mainstream”, rendering the politician opinion-less, and dependent on focus groups and polls. Such practices surely weaken the statesmanship and leadership of the politician, even if they only pretend they’re statesmen and leaders.
5. The administration and the opposition: In Democratic systems, there is always a government and an opposition. Those who support the government will support it regardless, and those who are in the opposition will oppose it regardless. This renders peoples welfare secondary at best.
6. False promises and lies during elections: Candidates will include in their programs what they think the masses want. It matters not whether what people want is actually needed, important, just, or can be carried out. The reality is simply that once they get to power, they can circumvent these demands, interpret numbers and present them in the way that pleases them.
7. Contradiction between “ideals” and interests: Western countries implement democracy in their lands, but support and backup dictators and non-democratic practices worldwide as their interests require it.
* The above was very loosely translated from Dr. Rafeeq Al-Masri’s website.