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WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POWER, AUTHORITY AND LEGITIMACY?

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Yazar: Ada İlyada UTKUCU

First, there is a distinction between power and authority originates from Roman Res Publica. In this republic, senate was the holder of the authority and it was the highest council of the state. Also, it was the representer of the legitimate right to rule. On the other hand, assemblies and public officers who were appointed by the Senate were using the political power. When considering the modern republics, we see the same division of the labour; In the Roman case, authority commands, but power enforces these commands, implements policies, and exercises political power.

Here is a fact that authority derives from author. That means authority with a legitimate right to rule writes the rules, laws and give the commands. Also, authority is usually seen in a constant way, but power is always in action.

What is more, authority is based on justified duty to obey rather than any form of coercion of force which political power can use them. In other words, whereas power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others, but authority is right to do so. It is claimed that legitimacy transforms power into authority. In other words, legitimacy is the function which make a relation between authority and power. It tells us that political power which enforces laws and rules or exercises some political actions or rules within society is rightful, proper, and justified.

To continue with mentioning the importance of consent, authority will be relied upon consent because consent justifies the right to rule, such as open elections are made to recognize the legitimate authority. When saying consent, it provides a moral justification to be recognized as the authority. So, depending on the consent and such a recognition the political authority will have the capacity to impose duties.

The relationship between consent, authority and legitimacy builds the political stability when they work well together. The phenomenon of political instability is experienced by most countries of the world. Durable political institutions have been established by the developed countries of the West that provide the basis for their stability. When comparing to West, most of the developing and underdeveloped countries suffer from this phenomenon, which reflected negatively on the political, economic, social, and cultural aspects of life. [1]

Furthermore, USA occupied Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11 terrorist attack; this can be seen an action as a revenge from the states who were claimed to support that attack. USA destroyed the political environment in those countries, also destroyed the political system of those countries by using military force.

Before 2003, Iraq was based on political legitimacy derived from one-party rule, without political pluralism and minority participation. After US Government used the military force to bring the democracy; the Iraqi political system collapsed after 2003, replacing it with a new system based on the peaceful exchange of power via a multi-party system established with the 2005 Constitution. Article 3 of the Constitution stipulates, “Iraq is a country of multiple nationalities, religions, and sects. It is a founding and active member of the Arab League and is committed to its charter, and it is part of the Islamic world.”[2]

Iraq, as a developing country, has been suffering from the phenomenon political stability since the establishment of the modern state in the 1920s. But it is a striking fact that the intensity and visibility of the problem of political instability increased unusually in the period after 2003. [3]

It is crucial to consider the backgrounds of these geographies where were subjected to the invasion. For most of its history, Afghanistan never constituted a single state because its territories were parts of larger empires. Under these regimes political legitimacy was anchored only in a ruler’s ability to maintain order and provide security.

Once again, a new Afghan ruler will seek to establish his authority and legitimacy. The country’s past suggests that to be successful such a ruler will need to convince the Afghans that she or he will not be beholden to foreigners even as she or he convinces these very same foreigners to fund her or his state and its military. In the absence of such a figure, and the departure of foreign forces, Afghanistan will not survive as a unitary state. The most likely event in that case would be a sundering of the country along regional lines since these always have been the true political bedrocks of the country.[4]

When USA is doing this, USA government of that time justified that these actions with reference to the fact that these countries were ruled by oppressive governments, so they said that we provide a democratic environment for the people of those countries.

However, after the occupation, USA could not stop the terrorist attacks and did not provide a political environment for the citizens of those countries. The reason for this, USA did not have the consent of the citizens living at those countries.

As it mentioned before, it is important to say that authority is based on consent and the political power is based on authority. This way, authority can be legitimate only with given consent. It can be said that force or power without authority does not have any meaning in the political realm.

Bu makalede yer alan fikirler yazara aittir ve Case’in editöryel politikasını yansıtmayabilir.
Bu yazı ilk kez 13 Mayıs 2021’de yayımlanmıştır.

Bibliography

Barfield Thomas, Political Legitimacy in Afghanistan, [email protected], 2009.

Shakor Roxanne Jamal, Ethnicity-Based Political Instability in Iraq After 2003, Lectio Socialis, 2020.

[1] Shakor Roxanne Jamal, Ethnicity-Based Political Instability in Iraq After 2003, Lectio Socialis, page 113, 2020.

[2] Shakor Roxanne Jamal, Ethnicity-Based Political Instability in Iraq After 2003, Lectio Socialis, page 115, 2020.

[3] Shakor Roxanne Jamal, Ethnicity-Based Political Instability in Iraq After 2003, Lectio Socialis, page 113, 2020.

[4] Barfield Thomas, Political Legitimacy in Afghanistan, [email protected], 2009.

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