Direct and representative democracy

View mindmap
  • Direct and representative democracy
    • Democracy
      • People have influence over political decision making.
      • Government are accountable to the people.
      • Free and fair elections so the government is legitimate
      • Different beliefs, political parties and associations are tolerated.
      • Free and independent media.
      • Citizens' rights are legally protected.
      • Legal limits to powers of government, established by a constitution and independent judiciary.
    • Direct democracy
      • A system where the people themselves make important political decisions. The modern form involves using referenda, which is controversial.
      • Advantages
        • Purest form of democracy, the people's voice is clearly heard.
        • Can avoid delay and deadlock within the political system.
        • Has great legitimacy.
          • Gives the government clear directive to act.
        • Each vote counts equally.
        • People more likely to vote if it will make a difference.
        • Referenda can teach people about political issues.
      • Disadvantages
        • Tyranny of the majority, where the winning majority ignores minority interests.
          • Elected representatives can mediate between majority and minority interests.
        • People may be easily swayed by short-term, emotional appeals by charismatic individuals.
        • Some issues may be too complex for the ordinary citizen to understand.
        • Not practical in a modern society.
        • Referenda can be manipulated by changing question phrasing.
        • Expensive to run.
          • Cabinet Office estimated by the 2016 EU referendum cost £141m to run.
    • representative democracy
      • A system where the people are represented by others. representatives are usually elected by can also include pressure groups and social movements.
      • Advantages
        • Representatives may have expert knowledge and experience.
        • Representatives are probably more rational and less likely to be swayed by emotional appeals.
        • Representatives are democratically accountable and should therefore behave responsibly.
        • Representatives should mediate between majority and minority interests.
      • Disadvantages
        • Elected representatives may be more interested in party politics than in the national interest.
          • In general, parties may exercise too much control over their elected members.
        • No guarantee that representatives accurately reflect the views of those they claim to represent.
        • FPTP produces a highly unrepresentative result.
          • Often more people will have voted against the winning party than for it.
        • Not all votes are counted equally in larger constituencies
    • Distinctions between the two types
      • With DD, people themselves make political decisions. With RD, decisions are made by elected representatives.
      • With DD, decisions are made by referenda whereas with RD decisions are made by government and elected assemblies.
      • With DD, the people vote on single issues. In RD, people choose between full political programmes at electiosn rather than on single issues.


No comments have yet been made

Similar Government & Politics resources:

See all Government & Politics resources »See all Democracy and participation resources »