Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy


Representative democracy is one form of government where the citizens allow others, commonly elected officials, to serve as their representation in the process of the government and are not really directly involved in any of lawmaking or legislation’s processes. This democratic form has managed to be popular in the regions with great numbers of citizens that a direct representation can create the possibilities of being overly bogged down or complicated.

But is representative democracy really all that good or does it have its own share of downsides?

The Pros of Representative Democracy

  • Representative Government can be Efficient – Having a nationwide vote on all issues can become very expensive and even time consuming and picking a fair time and place for votes can become a big challenge. In this aspect, representative government can be very efficient.
  • Officials can be Democratically Elected – Even though the citizens are not directly voting on the issues in a representative democracy form of government, still, they are the ones voting for their elected officials. Through this, the citizens are given the chance and even the tantamount responsibility of participating in their government, plus this also allows the citizens of influencing the policy of the government.

The Cons of Representative Democracy

  • Elected Officials May Not Represent Their Constituents – Frequently, the elected officials are much wealthier compared to the constituents that they are representing. These officials might not really have the similar beliefs or opinions with that of their constituents and worse, they might not even be aware of the beliefs of their constituents. Aside from that, it can also be impossible for the elected officials to become the representative of a heterogeneous constituency.
  • Citizens Do Not Participate in Representative Democracy – The representative governments are not allowing the citizens to fully participate as fully as what they would in a direct democracy. The elected officials might not also be as effective like the citizens are when it comes to coming up with decisions. It is because the citizens might lack the personal investment on the outcomes that can take place. Also, the citizens might not also inform themselves regarding the political topics once they have no vote or voice.
  • Elected Officials Are Not Accountable – Usually, the public is not holding the elected officials in representative government to be accountable for the decisions that they make, aside from the possible risk of failing to be elected again. The officials can break the promises they make during the campaign or come up with decisions that might be different from their constituents wishes.

How Do You Feel About Representative Democracy?

There is no denying that representative democracy has its own share of good sides but it cannot also be taken for granted that it has its bad sides as well. So, how do you feel about representative democracy?