Procedural democracy

Procedural democracy is a democracy that emphasizes the minimal standards of democracy.

Procedural democracy assumes that the electoral process is at the core of the authority placed in elected officials and ensures that all procedures of elections are duly complied with (or at least appear so). It could be described as a republic (i.e., people voting for representatives) wherein only the basic structures and institutions are in place. Commonly, the previously elected representatives use electoral procedures to maintain themselves in power against the common wish of the people (to some varying extent), thus thwarting the establishment of a full-fledged democracy.

Procedural democracy is quite different from substantive democracy, which is manifested by equal participation of all groups in society in the political process.

Certain southern African countries such as Namibia, Angola, and Mozambique, where procedural elections are conducted through international assistance, are possible examples of procedural democracies.

For procedural democrats, the aim of democracy is to embody certain procedural virtue. Procedural democrats are divided among themselves over what those virtues might be, as well as over which procedures best embody them. But all procedural democrats agree on the one central point: for procedural democrats, there is no "independent truth of the matter" which outcomes ought track; instead, the goodness or rightness of an outcome is wholly constituted by the fact of its having emerged in some procedurally correct manner.

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