What is legitimacy?

Olga Reznik
Olga Reznik
August 14, 2012
What is legitimacy?

In recent decades, many new words have entered our lexicon. “Legitimacy” is one of them. What is legitimacy? Literally from Latin "legitimus" is translated as "legal, legitimate."

What is the legitimacy of power? Legitimacy is when the people recognize the power of the government to make binding decisions, that is, when the people agree with the government. Accordingly, with a low level of legitimacy, that is, with disagreement, the authorities often have to resort to force coercion.

In general, legitimacy is a political-legal concept. It means an approving attitude of the population of the country to the current government. The concept of "legitimacy of power" is directly related to public opinion, including those of foreign countries, about the institutions of power in a particular state.

Legitimacy is sometimes confused with legality. In fact, these are different concepts. Legality - compliance with legal norms, and legal - recognized by law.

There are several types or varieties of legitimacy.One of them is traditional legitimacy, based on the belief of people in the inevitability and binding nature of the subordination of power. This type of legitimacy is most often observed in monarchical countries with a hereditary type of government.

Another type of legitimacy is rational or democratic legitimacy. It is directly related to the recognition by society of justice rational and democratic procedures formed by the system of government.

And, finally, charismatic legitimacy. It is formed on the basis of the unconditional belief of people in the exceptional qualities of a political leader who, by virtue of his outstanding abilities, does absolutely everything correctly, he is infallible. The people's trust in such a charismatic leader extends to the whole system of power. The very same people believe the leader unconditionally, they admire. Charismatic leaders, as a rule, appear in the era of revolutionary transformations, coupled with faith in a bright future. Charismatic legitimacy often leads to a personality cult.