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Direct Democracy Essay

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Direct democracy means forms of direct participation of citizens in democratic decision making in contrast to indirect or representative democracy, based on the sovereignty of the people. This can happen in the form of an assembly democracy or by initiative and referendum with ballot voting, with direct voting on issues instead of for candidates or parties. Sometimes the term is also used for electing representatives in a direct vote as opposed to indirect elections (by voting for an electing body, electoral college, etc.), as well as for recalling elected officeholders. Direct democracy may be understood as a full-scale system of political institutions, but in modern times, it means most often specific decision-making institutions in the broader…show more content…
During the 19th century, these principles were increasingly challenged, or they were deprived of their substance beyond representative institutions. So, in many countries, direct-democracy institutions have not been established or implemented since representative elites developed a strong interest in monopolizing power. In addition, pragmatic theories contended that direct democracy could not work under space and time conditions of large modern…show more content…
More specific arguments originate from the participatory theory of democracy and the critique of a lack of responsiveness and legitimacy of representative (party) democracy. The two sets of democratic institutions are distinguished by basic features of direct participation: (1) direct democracy focuses on specific issues, in contrast to voting on candidates and general programs for long terms of office, and (2) citizens themselves act as decision makers rather than delegating these powers. Like electoral systems, a variety of procedural forms, designs, and regulations are likely to influence processes and outcome. One must also keep in mind that direct-democratic processes cannot operate in isolation but are always linked to the structures of an overall political system that includes major representative institutions. Thus, interactions between the two types of institutions will be an important challenge for analysis. For instance, as George Tsebelis notes, referendum voters can be seen as an additional veto player. Some authors contend that direct democracy may undermine representative democracy, while others focus on the deliberative functions for a democratic public sphere and the capacity for integrating citizens in the democratic process. One can also assume that basic
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