Democracy is a form of government in which power is held by the people, either directly or through elected representatives. It is based on the principles of political equality, individual liberty, and the rule of law, and is characterized by regular elections, freedom of speech and the press, and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.
Source: Linz, J. J., & Stepan, A. (1996). Problems of democratic transition and consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and post-Communist Europe. JHU Press.