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Study Notes

Legitimacy

Level:
AS, A-Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Legitimacy is the belief that the government does things in terms of policy and law-making that are acceptable to the citizens of that state.

The people give authority to those in power, and can take it away should the government stray from what is acceptable to them. Governments have to thus be careful not to make unpopular decisions, particularly those that were not in their manifesto when elected.

This is why manifestos are so important. Should a party be elected to power, they can claim a mandate to carry out the policies in their manifesto. Those who do not agree with those policies then have to wait for another election to legitimise another party’s policies.

This is one of the main roles of the Houses of Parliament. The opposition and the House of Lords hold the Government accountable to sticking to their manifesto, as representatives of the people.

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