Types of democracy: direct, semi-direct and indirect

The democracy is a system that allows organizing a set of individuals, where the power is not in one person but it is distributed entered all citizens. In democracy, decisions are made according to the opinion of the majority.

Although the concept that defines democracy is one, there are different types of state organization , which build different types of democracies. Below we will know in detail each of these these types of democracy: direct, indirect and semi-direct democracy.

Type of democracyDefinition
direct or participatoryIt is one in which the widest possible range of decisions is consulted with the people, whether through referendums, assemblies or other forms of consultative mechanisms, so that it is the people who make the decisions directly.
indirect or representativeIt is one where the sovereignty of the nation is found in the popular representatives, who are elected through direct or indirect suffrage. Indirect democracy can be:
-Democracy parliamentary
presidential -Democracy
-Democracy Soviet
SemidirectaIt is one in which political power is controlled by the rulers elected by the people through suffrage, but the vast majority of decisions must be consulted and supported by the people through referendums, consultations or plebiscites.

What is democracy?

The democracy is one of the system of social organization most popular of the contemporary world, though its creation dates back to classical antiquity. Its main characteristic is that it gives the power to decide on the conduct of the State , this means sovereignty, to the people, who express themselves through the will of the majority. In a democratic state, the institutions are there to execute and defend the will of the people , who delegate control of the state to them.

The concept of democracy has its bases in ancient Greek and is formed by combining the words demos, which means people, and the word kratós, which means power or governments. The concept of democracy began to be used in the 5th century BC, in the city of Athens.

This term extends to communities or organized groups where all people participate in decision-making in a participatory and horizontal way.

With regard to the mechanism for citizen participation in democracy, it is universal, free and secret suffrage, through which representatives or leaders are elected for a specific period. Elections are held by majority systems, by proportional representation, or by a combination of both.

Characteristics of democracy

Among the main characteristics of democracy we can find:

-Elect their political representatives through popular suffrage , either directly or indirectly.

-Respect the republican institutionality , this means the independence of powers and the rule of law (that is, the rule of law).

-Separate completely the spaces of the legal (State) and the moral (Religion), and be guided by a National Constitution and not by a sacred book.

– Respect fundamental human rights and be able to guarantee basic civil liberties, as stated and contemplated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in its own constitutional text.

Democracy values

Democracy is a way of living in society, which is only possible if it is based on a set of values ​​that are fundamental to its functioning and that are not the result of the evolution of societies. Within these values ​​we can find: freedom, equality, justice, respect, tolerance, pluralism and participation.

Types of democracy

As we detailed previously, not all forms of democracy are the same. The democracy has been transformed from its origins and adapting to the times of modern societies. It is for this reason that there are different types of democracy that we will detail below.

  • Direct (or participatory) democracy

Direct democracy is known as that in which the widest possible range of decisions is consulted with the people, either through referendums, assemblies or other forms of consultative mechanisms, so that it is the people who make the decisions directly. .

It is very common in direct democracy that assemblies of popular participation are held, from which spokespersons or delegates emerge who will be in charge of raising the requests and resolutions that have been taken to the authorities.

Direct or also called participatory democracy is the type of democracy that is closest to the people and the government. As a disadvantage, we can see that it multiplies bureaucratic instances and this makes the decision-making process more expensive and slower, since consultation and referendums require time, money and effort.

  • Indirect (or representative) democracy

The indirect democracy , also called representative is one where the sovereignty of the nation is in the people ‘s representatives , who are elected by suffrage, whether it is direct where individuals choose their representatives or indirect, where Individuals elect delegates and they then elect representatives.

This type of democratic system works according to the consideration that not everything can be submitted to popular consultation, especially if what you want is to have an operational State in charge of many issues. It is for this reason that politically elected representatives are elected by the will of the people to make the decisions they consider pertinent, and to interpret and execute the will of the people.

Indirect or representative democracy can be classified into the following types:

– Parliamentary democracy : is one in which the head of government is exercised by a Prime Minister who belongs to the executive area of ​​parliament (legislative).

– Presidential democracy: it is that democracy where the executive power is represented by a president who is elected through popular, direct and secret suffrage. Furthermore, this power is independent of the work of the legislative branch.

– Soviet democracy: this type of democracy is based on the fact that workers and citizens belonging to certain sectors or locations elect their delegates before a council of local political power (which are traditionally called soviets), who in turn elect their representatives before the regional soviets, and from which representatives arise before the high government authorities.

  • Semi-direct democracy

There are certain authors who establish a third form of democracy that is called semi-direct democracy . It combines elements of direct and indirect democracy, thus giving rise to semi-direct democracy.

In this type of democracy, political power is controlled by the rulers elected by the people through suffrage, but the vast majority of decisions must be consulted and supported by the people through referendums, consultations or plebiscites.

With this type of democracy, what is sought is to be able to provide an alternative that is intermediate and more efficient than direct democracy, but not that the people are very distant from the exercise of power, something that usually happens in representative democracies where a political class ends up becoming an elite.

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