Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Direct democracy means forms of direct participation of citizens in democratic decision making in contrast to indirect or representative democracy, based on the sovereignty of the people. This can happen in the form of an assembly democracy or by initiative and referendum with ballot voting, with direct voting on issues instead of for candidates or parties. Sometimes the term is also used for electing representatives in a direct vote as opposed to indirect elections (by voting for an electing body, electoral college, etc.), as well as for recalling elected officeholders. Direct democracy may be understood as a full-scale system of political institutions, but in modern times, it means most often specific decision-making institutions in the broader system environment of representative democracy. The following sections (a) introduce some historical background and theoretical ideas, (b) elaborate on various forms of direct democracy, (c) describe regulations and use of direct democracy in some ...