Representative democracy

From Encyklopedia Administracji Publicznej

This page is a translated version of the page Demokracja przedstawicielska and the translation is 100% complete.

Other languages:
English • ‎français • ‎polski • ‎русский

REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY (so-called – indirect d.) – a form of exercising power consisting in making decisions in bodies of public authority by representatives elected in democratic elections. Selected representatives through the act of election obtain a legitimacy to make decisions and act on behalf and in the interests of citizens. Citizens delegate their representatives to authorities at various levels, from local and regional (local government elections), through national (parliamentary and presidential elections) to international (elections to the European Parliament). In the r.d. the people do not exercise the power independently but through their representatives. R.d. is the basic form of exercising public authority. From the formal point of view, the basis of the r.d. is the participation of citizens through participation in elections. Nowadays, the participation of citizens in politics and in public life between elections, for example the possibility of association (the functioning of civil society), affiliation with political parties, lobbying and exercising civic control, among others through exercising the right to access to public information, is playing an increasingly important role in the functioning of the democratic system. The key determinant for this form of democracy are free, equal, universal and fair elections, carried out according to transparent rules. Some may hold the view that elections are a sufficient condition to call the system democratic – such a position is referred to as electorism and is sometimes criticized (with the argument that reducing democracy only to elections is a distortion of its essence) (→ direct democracy) [ E. Szulc-Wałecka ].

Literature: J. Haman, Demokracja, decyzje, wybory, Warszawa 2003 ■ J. Kuchciński, Demokracja przedstawicielska i bezpośrednia w Trzeciej Rzeczypospolitej, Warszawa 2007 ■ W. Misztal, Dialog obywatelski we współczesnej Polsce, Lublin 2011.