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Non-partisan democracy

From Academic Kids

Non-partisan democracy (or no-party democracy) is a system of representative government or organization whereby universal and periodic elections (by secret ballot) take place without reference to political parties or even the speeches, campaigns, nominations, or other apparatus commonly associated with democracy.

Candidates to an office (or candidates to a delegate position) are instead chosen strictly by the conscience of the individuals voting for them. Speaking about candidates may even be discouraged, so as not to prejudice others' decisions or create an inharmonious atmosphere. All in the community (or at least those of a certain age, perhaps, and/or those without a criminal record, etc.) are made eligible to vote and can be voted for. Such a system is considered by some to be also compatible with technocracy, whereby the solemn atmosphere may tend to elect candidates who may have great abilities and knowledge yet would not otherwise be inclined to participate in a media frenzy or take part in behind-the-scenes power-grabs. Advocates argue that self-aggrandizement, promise-making, appeals to limited loyalties, and divisiveness among and between the governors and the governed believed to be inherent in partisan democracies, would all be avoided or minimized in such non-partisan systems, and that by the simple opportunity of being enabled to privately witness and assess the character and initiative of individuals within one's own community, particularly through periodic grass-roots meetings and discussions which aim to offer recommendations to the institutions, provides a better picture of how likely given individuals are to be of providing future inspired leadership and service. It is also believed that a non-partisan system as this also expands choice in elections beyond the limited range of choices as are otherwise presented to the public in partisan systems (who have at best a limited role even in the selection process, if not the final determination).

A no-party democracy might take root in sovereign nations, such as occurred in Uganda in 1986, whereby political parties are restricted by a constitutional referendum endorsed by the people of the country (this system does not have all of the features described above).

The Canadian territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have no-party democracies. The populace vote for individuals to represent them in the territory assembly without reference to political parties. After the election, the assembly selects one of their number to form a government and act as premier. About 85% of the population of Nunavut are Inuit who do not have the adversarial traditions of European civilization.

As far as use by non-governmental organizations, a global non-partisan system of democracy has been in use by the administrative institutions of the Bahá'í Faith since 1963 (though its first institutions had begun in the late 19th century).

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