Key Difference – Direct vs Representative Democracy
There are many different forms of governance being practiced in the countries of the world with democracy being the most popular and accepted form of governance. Democracy is a system that allows the people of a country to have more control in the formation of the laws of the land as well as in the policies and conduct of the representatives whom they choose on the basis of elections. There is input from the citizens of the country in democracy. There are different forms of democracies that follow the principles of true democracies in varying degrees with direct and representative being most commonly practiced in many parts of the world. There are differences between these two systems of democracy that will be talked about in this article.
What is Direct Democracy?
Direct democracy is a type of democracy that is closest to the spirit and essence of the concept of democracy. This means that people get a chance not just to vote for their representatives but also to vote on policy matters that can affect their lives.
Imagine being able to pass legislation and to let and dismiss the executive to run the country. This is a democracy that calls for the participation of the highest level possible from the citizens of the country. There are many proponents of this form of democracy believing a greater participation from people can lead to a better working government.
However, in practice, it is seen that the system become impractical and virtually chokes the decision making ability of the government. This type of democracy can, however, work when there is a small area to be administered, and the population of the area is also very small.
What is Representative Democracy?
This is the most common form of democracy where people select their representatives to make laws for the country. Government is made from among these representatives who run the country through an executive branch that implements the programs and policies of the government.
In representative democracy, the role of the citizens is mostly limited to taking part in general elections and giving the vote to their preferred candidates. The elected representatives have to walk a tightrope taking decisions so as to satisfy the maximum number of people in their constituencies.
Representative democracy is today practiced in many countries around the world. It is seen in UK (a monarchy) or in countries like India and US with slight variations.
What is the difference between Direct and Representative Democracy?
• Direct democracy is a democracy that gives people a much greater control in decision making with citizens having the power to elect and even dismiss their executive.
• Representative democracy is the more common type of democracy as seen in UK, US, India etc.
• Representative democracy allows people to vote for their representatives who make laws in the legislative assembly on behalf of the people.
• Direct democracy looks good in principle but becomes impractical as it chokes decision making ability of the government.
• In direct democracy, representatives are given very limited powers whereas, in representative democracy, representatives have lots of powers.
• Many people who feel disenchanted with representative democracy and advocate direct democracy find that direct democracy is rather impractical and inefficacious in modern sates with a high population.