Sangeetha Pulapaka

In analysis of the quality of democracy, that is, an empirical check on how

‘good’ a democracy is, requires not only that we assume some definition

of democracy, but also that we establish a clear notion of its quality. The

minimal definition of democracy suggests that such a regime has, at least,

the following: universal, adult suffrage; recurring, free, competitive and

fair elections; more than one political party; and more than one source of

information. Among those that meet these minimum criteria, further empirical

analysis is still necessary to detect the degree to which they have achieved the

two main objectives of an ideal democracy: freedom and political equality.

Thus, the analysis of a good democracy cannot include merely electoral

democracies, that is, hybrid regimes whose failure to ensure a minimum

level o f civil rights keeps them below the minimum threshold requirements

for classification as strictly democratic.

Starting from both the definition mentioned above and from the prevailing

notions of quality, a good democracy can be said to be one that presents

a stable institutional structure that realises the liberty and equality of

citizens through the legitimate and correct functioning of its institutions and


A good democracy is thus first and foremost a broadly legitimated regime that completely satisfies its citizens (quality in terms of