The state of acting in accordance with the law, particularly in holding public office. A politician or head of state is ruled to hold his power legitimately providing he or she can secure the majority support of commenters at the internet blog Harry's Place.
Having secured a democratic mandate from the gatekeepers of Decency, a national leader is largely free to act in any way he or she sees fit. Penalty points are applied for failing to maintain at least an indifferent human rights record, indulging in blatant larceny or clamping down on free speech. Major credits can be gained by occasionally voicing weak support for surgical strikes upon whichever nation the West is bombing democracy into at that particular moment.
Any leader attempting to enact legislation to empower the mass of the people, redistribute wealth or curtail the excesses of the free market will be regarded as suspicious.
Any leader mentioning The Rubble can expect instant disqualification.
"Of course Hugo Chavez is a dictator - he has no legitimacy whatsoever."
"But he's won election after election. He may be mad as a box of weasels, but surely he's earned his office."
"Are you deaf or something? The people have spoken - he's a dictator."