Direct democracy


The direct democracy is the opposite to the normally know as democracy representative , according to which people have the ability to choose representatives who are empowered to create laws and policies for them. Ideally, the laws and policies enacted by elected representatives should promptly reflect the will of the majority of the people. In the case of direct democracy , which is also known as pure democracy , all laws and policies imposed by governments are determined by the people themselves., instead of being imposed by representatives elected by the people. In a true direct democracy, all laws , the draft legislation and even decisions court are voted by all citizens .


What is direct democracy?

Direct democracy is a mechanism through which each of the people who are in it has the ability to present their opinions , initiatives and proposals as a team and making mutual agreements and political decisions .

  • What does it consist of
  • History of direct democracy
  • features
  • goals
  • Advantages of direct democracy
  • Disadvantages
  • Mechanisms
  • Forms of participation
  • Importance
  • Examples of countries with direct democracy

What does it consist of

Direct democracy, which is sometimes also called radical democracy or face-to-face democracy , is a method by means of which each of the people who are associated with a specific group , have the ability to expose in equal power their points of view and thoughts , their initiatives and also their proposals through a work team . It is a form of democracy in which the members that make up an association, which can be labor , business or local citizensThey can make decisions and participate directly in the process of making political decisions and where each of the partners that it has engaged equality of rights and obligations .


History of direct democracy

Throughout history , different examples have emerged of political systems that have functioned on the basis of different forms of direct democracy. One of the first cases is the Athenian democracy , because in Greece a type of direct democracy was used to be practiced since the decisions were in the hands of an assembly of Greek men. During the Russian revolution in 1917 , the Soviets were considered as direct democracy although they had delegates in the different regions.


The main characteristics of direct democracy are the following:

  • It allows public opinion to rule through popular assemblies.
  • The collective interest promotes and fosters individual interests.
  • The citizen interactivity improves the resolution of problems arising in the state.
  • Political interventions are carried out without any kind of mediation.
  • They are political communities of small size .
  • Their territorial scope is small.
  • It takes the citizens into consideration to participate in public consultations which may become mandatory for the government.


The main objective is direct democracy will always be to strengthen the participation that has the public in making decisions without having to use intermediaries. Direct participation by the people is also promoted in order to return sovereign power to them using different means or procedures that prioritize public debate .

Advantages of direct democracy

Among the main advantages that we can obtain with the application of direct democracy we have the following:

  • Direct democracy can favor a government that is closer to the citizenry . Leaders must take public opinion into consideration before making decisions and responding to popular demands all the time.
  • It leads to an opening of public decision methods , which helps to legitimize the laws, by having these with the support of public opinion .
  • It allows the participation and decision of public and political life beyond the interests of political parties, and partisan rivalries.
  • They more precisely define the content of public policies .
  • They stimulate citizen participation and increase the citizen’s feeling of efficacy.
  • It helps education and political socialization , and is a correct form of expression of the popular will .
  • It helps the citizens to comply with the norms , since it is they themselves who give them direct form in their promulgation .


Some disadvantages of direct democracy are:

  • It has a dominant pressure group so some people are more politically active than others.
  • Government regulations and different media try to influence.
  • Most of the issues to be discussed are debated by referendum .
  • The vote must indicate the desired end, not the means necessary to achieve it.


The mechanisms used in direct democracy are basically five: the referendum that can be used to approve or reject laws, the plebiscite , the popular initiative that gives citizens the power to present petitions to the State, the revocation of the mandate that It is the right of the people to be able to remove someone from a certain position and certiorari .

Forms of participation

The forms of participation of direct democracy are the following:

  • Discussion forums : these are places where you discuss, reflect, debate, and generate ideas about aspects of interest. The issue can be submitted voluntarily by an individual.
  • Mechanisms for the dissemination of initiatives and for the expression of support or vote for a specific initiative.


Direct democracy is very important because it has a wide practicality and efficiency , since it is capable of deciding on all or practically all the issues that are important in the public sphere by means of a referendum , to encourage its citizens to participate in it.

Examples of countries with direct democracy

Some examples of countries where this type of democracy is practiced are:

  • Swiss
  • United States
  • Spain
  • France

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