Representative democracy

   Countries designated "electoral democracies" in Freedom House's 2017 survey Freedom in the World, covering the year 2016.[1]

Representative democracy (also indirect democracy, representative government or psephocracy) is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy.[2] Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary state, and the United States is a federal republic.[3]

It is an element of both the parliamentary and the presidential systems of government and is typically used in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, Lok Sabha of India, and may be curtailed by constitutional constraints such as an upper chamber. It has been described by some political theorists including Robert A. Dahl, Gregory Houston and Ian Liebenberg as polyarchy.[4][5] In it the power is in the hands of the representatives who are elected by the people.

Powers of representatives

Representatives are elected by the public, as in national elections for the national legislature.[3] Elected representatives may hold the power to select other representatives, presidents, or other officers of the government or of the legislature, as the Prime Minister in the latter case. (indirect representation).

The power of representatives is usually curtailed by a constitution (as in a constitutional democracy or a constitutional monarchy) or other measures to balance representative power:[citation needed]

Theorists such as Edmund Burke believe that part of the duty of a representative was not simply to communicate the wishes of the electorate but also to use their own judgement in the exercise of their powers, even if their views are not reflective of those of a majority of voters:[6]

...it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinion, high respect; their business, unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs; and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiassed opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Tāi-gī bîn-chú
한국어: 간접 민주제
Bahasa Indonesia: Demokrasi perwakilan
къарачай-малкъар: Келечилик демократия
Simple English: Indirect democracy
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Predstavnička demokratija
Tiếng Việt: Dân chủ đại nghị