Support for presidential checks and balances

10 September 2019 | Politics

Democracy is designed to keep powerful leaders in check. The separation of powers into three branches of government creates a system of accountability by all three. This is crucial if democracy is to survive and perform.

The president is directly elected by the people and obtains a specific mandate from voters. A complex system of checks and balances prevents the president from operating without accountability.

One source of checks and balances is the judiciary. Graph 1 shows that citizens' support for checks and balances by the judiciary has increased significantly since 2006. At the same time, those supporting the notion that the president should be allowed to operate without these judicial constraints declined to 35%. The second source of checks and balances on the president iin parliament. Graph 2 shows that between 2008 and 2017 support for the president acting without parliamentary accountability declined from 56% to 42%. Conversely, support for parliamentary oversight increased from 41% to 56%.

This provides more evidence that Namibians are slowly growing into their democratic system. The majority of Namibians now support a system of judicial and legislative checks and balances on the president.

*All survey data used is sourced from the Afrobarometer, a pan-African series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, and society. For more details, please visit http://afrobarometer.org

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