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Indirect Democracy

Exploring the Aspects of Indirect Democracy and its Pros and Cons

The free modern world has largely accepted indirect democracy as a great form of government. Here, we try to understand some important aspects of this form of democracy, along with its advantages and disadvantages.
OpinionFront Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
The study of democracy is very important. After all, it is a form of government where people rule themselves, unlike a monarchy or dictatorship. In the past century, democracy has evolved drastically with ideologies such as communism, socialism, and capitalism being integrated into the system. Broadly speaking, as a form of government, it can be classified into two types namely: indirect and direct democracy. The meanings of these two types is quite simple and a direct democracy involves the vote of people in all legislative matters, policies, and all important decisions. In contrast to that, an indirect form of democracy is where people elect their leaders to the legislative bodies, and the entire legislative body takes all the decisions, makes policies, and laws on the behalf of the people and society. Such a democracy is often also known as a representative democracy.

What is Indirect Democracy?

An indirect or representative democracy has been the most popular government by far. In fact, it is more popular than direct democracy. As mentioned above, it consists of a society which elects its leaders and representatives to a legislative body. This legislative body makes laws, forms policies, takes decisions, and runs or operates the nation. The people's role comes in only during the elections. The mix of a greater executive power and the immense trust of the people on the shoulders of the legislature, have proved to be the driving power of the success of the economy. Some prominent examples include United Kingdom, United States, India, Israel, etc.

The people's participation is thus a bit lesser, as compared to that in direct democracy. In some nations, people and governments have made efforts to fuse together the direct and indirect forms of democracy, wherein the people can initiate laws, appeal to the government, or suggest reforms. Though the executive power has been maintained with the government and legislature, the idea has proved to be a success in several situations. Switzerland and Ancient Athens are some direct democracy examples.

Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy
There's quite a debate regarding the pros and cons of the indirect form of democracy. Take a look.

Pros
  • One advantage is a great executive legislative body that is largely controlled by the constitution and laws of the nation. High priority decisions, laws, and policies are formulated and executed very effectively by this legislative body.
  • Apart from that, legislative bodies which comprise several members, chosen by people, tend to have an ability to take well-balanced decisions, especially when it is an emergency.
  • Since all the different factions of the society are sufficiently represented, the sense of democracy is fulfilled.
  • The law of a representative democracy always tends to be highly just and well-balanced towards the society.
Cons
  • One of the biggest disadvantages is that there is a huge risk of inefficiency and corruption.
  • Underrepresentation of minorities is another great risk.
  • In several cases, legislative bodies of a representative democracy have taken wrong decisions.
No form of government is perfect, and there are going to be times when even the disadvantages might get highlighted. The best form of a democracy is the one which is dynamic, and changes according to the need of time, by accepting the ideas and ideologies from other forms of governance.