Difference Between Military Rule and Democracy

Difference Between Military Rule and Democracy

The main difference between military rule and democracy is how they make decisions and run the government. Military rule is an authoritarian system in which the military holds power, usually through force or a coup, and military leaders make decisions without input from the public. On the other hand, democracy is a form of government in which the power is given to the people, who then choose representatives to make decisions for them. In a democracy, there are checks and balances on political power, and people have fundamental rights and freedoms. Under military rule, individual liberties and political diversity are often limited or stifled.

What is Military Rule?

Military rule is a type of government in which the military controls the government and how it works, directly or indirectly. Most of the time, this kind of authoritarian system is set up by a coup d’état or a violent takeover, in which military leaders seize power from a civilian government, suspend the constitution, and get rid of legislative bodies.

Military leaders generally stifle political dissent, restrict journalistic freedom, and neglect human rights when they are in power due to the centralised decision-making process and concentration of authority under military administration. Most of the time, democratic institutions and processes are weakened or taken over by the military. This makes politics less diverse, and fewer people take part in them.

In times of crisis, political chaos, or what people think are threats to national security, the need to restore order and stability is often used to justify the military rule. But it can have bad effects in the long run, like repression, violations of human rights, and economic decline. In the end, military rule is defined by the fact that it is not democratic, that political freedoms are limited, and that power is centralised in the military establishment.

What is Democracy?

Democracy is a form of government in which the power to make decisions is given to the people, who can do so directly or through elected representatives. It is based on the ideas of political equality, individual rights, and the rule of law. This makes sure that every citizen has a say in how decisions are made.

In a representative democracy, people vote for people who will represent their needs in legislative bodies. These people make laws and set policies that reflect the will of the majority while protecting the rights of minorities. Regular, free, and fair elections are essential parts of a democracy. They ensure a peaceful change of power and hold those in power accountable.

Like an independent judiciary and a free press, checks and balances are part of a democracy. They keep power from being centralised and protect the rights of citizens. In a democracy, the public is encouraged to get involved, do their civic duty, and have open debates. This creates an environment where different ideas can be shared without fear of being shut down.

In short, democracy is a form of government that focuses on political equality, individual rights, and the rule of law. It gives people a direct or indirect say in the decisions that affect their lives.

Difference Between Military Rule and Democracy

Political power and decision-making are at the heart of the difference between a democracy and a military regime. Citizens have a voice in decision-making through their elected representatives in a democracy, which prioritises political equality, individual rights, and the rule of law. Military rule is a form of authoritarianism in which the military seizes and maintains power by using force and where military officials make all policy decisions independently of the populace. Under military control, freedom of expression and political diversity are often stifled, but in a democracy, they are safeguarded. Here are the main distinctions between military rule and democracy:

Source of Power

Power in a democracy rests with the people, but under military rule, it rests with the regime.


Unlike under military rule, where decisions are made behind closed doors, democracy promotes open debate and public engagement in policy matters.


Unlike under military rule, where accountability is restricted or nonexistent due to the concentration of power, elected leaders in a democracy are subject to regular elections and checks and balances.

Individual Rights

Comparatively, military rule generally undermines individual rights and freedoms in order to keep power, whereas democracies safeguard and encourage them.

Political Pluralism

Different political groups and ideas flourish under a democracy, while they are often stifled under military rule.

Rule of Law

In a democracy, the rule of law prevails, and all individuals, including government officials, are subject to it. When the military is in charge, the rule of law is often disregarded or manipulated to benefit those in authority.

Free and Fair Elections

Unlike under military rule, where elections are frequently postponed or manipulated to maintain control, elections in democracies are held regularly, are free and fair, and guarantee a peaceful transition of power.

Checks and Balances

Institutional checks and balances in democratic systems limit the possibility of abuses of power and authoritarianism, but military rule does not.