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Baha’i Faith – a Unique System of Self-Governance

Posted: 01/23/12

There is no class of ecclesiastics or clergy in the Baha’i Faith. Rather, it is administered by a unique combination of freely elected councils and a complementary institution of appointed advisers. This administrative system operates at the local, regional, national, and international levels.


Guided by principles laid down in the writings of Baha’u'llah, Baha’is have established a distinctive system of global self-governance that both protects personal freedom and safeguards the prerogatives of the community as a whole, striking a singular balance between individual initiative and the common good.

This dynamic arrangement is in many ways far more “democratic” than the methods by which most parliaments or other representational systems operate. And yet, because of its distinctive procedures and principles, it avoids the processes of manipulation, factionalism, and partisanship that have become features of other systems of governance worldwide.

Baha’i elections exclude any form of electioneering or nomination. Yet they offer every individual elector the widest possible choice of candidates. At the age of 21 Baha’is become eligible to serve on elected institutions of the Baha’i administrative order. These elected bodies are vested by the Baha’i sacred writings with legislative, judicial, and executive functions.

The appointed branch of the Baha’i administrative order is entrusted with propagating and protecting the Faith. It is the responsibility of individuals serving in an appointed capacity to counsel, stimulate and encourage individual Baha’is and elected institutions.

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