Assess the Advantages of Direct Democracy

2000 Words8 Pages
Assess the advantages of direct democracy. Introduction. Heywood defines democracy as “government by the people”1. Translated from Greek – 'Demos' meaning; the people and 'Kratis' meaning; rule or power. Heywood also identifies two types of democracy. Representative and direct democracy. Representative democracy is known as the “indirect and limited form of democracy which operates through elected representative's to speak for or act on behalf of the electorate”2. One of the main examples of representative democracy is the process of voting. Direct democracy is a “form of democracy that is based on the direct and unmediated and continuous participation of citizens in the tasks of government.”3. Examples of direct democracy include; joining pressure groups, taking part in referendums and contacting local MPs. This essay will be assessing the advantages of direct democracy. Increased Political Participation. Direct democracy allows the electorate to have more opportunities to take part in the political process, as forms of direct democracy such as referendums, canvassing, protesting, joining pressure groups and boycotting products; allow for the electorate to choose a form of participation rather than only being able to vote after governmental terms are served by parties, therefore direct democracy would moot Jean Jacques Rousseau's opinion that “The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament”4. As it allows the citizens to be able to participate in many forms and at any time. In support to this, statistics show that forms of direct democracy and non electoral participation are rising among the public. The percentage of citizens that took part in boycotting products for ethical reasons rose to 31% in 2011 from 4% in 1984. The number of people who contacted the media for a
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