What is Direct Democracy Indirect and representative democracy


The word democracy comes from the Greek for “rule by the people”. As one might suppose, it is the population of a country that participates in decision-making. However, for a government to be considered democratic, it needs to guarantee the equality and freedom of the people, in addition to the rule of law. In this article we will provide you the information about the direct democracy.

Democracy is a political system in which citizens can participate in decisions related to the state directly or indirectly.

Decision-making can be related to the choice of representatives to decide on behalf of the people on various matters, such as the creation of laws.

Direct Democracy

Direct democracy is a form of democratic government where the population has the right to directly participate in decision-making . However, this is a viable model for small societies, where deliberation among all its members is possible.

The first accounts of direct democracy are from Athens, in ancient Greece, when the system of government consisted of popular participation in making major decisions. Citizens gathered in the public square and, thus, discussed and voted on political matters and on the problems of the city.

Currently, with the enormous population growth of nations, it is impossible to maintain this type of model of democracy. For this reason, other alternatives have emerged, such as representative democracy.

Direct democracy is the oldest model that represents the manifestation of citizenship. However, in Ancient Greece, only men who were sons or grandsons of Athenians were considered citizens. Women, blacks, mestizos, for example, did not have the privilege of participating in city decisions.

What is indirect or representative democracy?

In an indirect (representative) democracy, citizens choose representatives at regular intervals to vote on matters for the administration of the country. In Brazil, elections for these representatives take place every four years, but vary from country to country.

It is therefore important for citizens in an indirect (representative) democracy to be aware of who they choose for political office. This is because they will represent them in government and make decisions on their behalf.

Brazil is a supporter of representative democracy (also called indirect or semi-direct). Thus, the people choose representatives, who exercise mandates to carry out the wills and desires of the population.

However, at times, citizens may be called upon to decide on issues directly, through plebiscites and referendums.

Most democratic countries are adherents of representative democracy. In addition to Brazil, examples include the United States, France, Portugal, Canada, the United Kingdom, among others.

Difference between direct, indirect and representative democracy

Democracy direct democracy  Indirect democracy (representative)
Definition It is a political system in which the people actively participate in decision-making regarding the administration of a state / country. It is a political system in which the people, directly and without representatives, actively participate in the decision-making of a state / country. It consists of the population choosing, through elections, representatives to make decisions on its behalf.
Characteristics It can be direct (in which citizens decide on issues related to creation of laws, budget, etc.); or indirect / representative (in which the population chooses representatives to make decisions on their behalf). In direct democracy, all matters related to the administration of the state/country are defined by the people. In this case, there is no choice of representatives, as the population would participate actively and directly in decision-making. The population chooses representatives to make decisions on their behalf. There are elections for these to be elected. That is, the population participates in decisions through people they trust, chosen democratically.
Examples Democratic countries:

  • Brazil;
  • Argentina;
  • U.S;
  • Canada;
  • Portugal;
  • Norway.
Currently, there is no country of direct democracy. In Ancient Greece it was exercised, but at that time not everyone could participate in decision-making, like women.
  • Brazil;
  • Portugal;
  • U.S;
  • Canada;
  • France;
  • Germany;
  • Italy.

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