14 Crucial Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy 2021 - Ablison Energy
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14 Crucial Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy

by Nov 12, 2020

Representative democracy is a form of a government system whereby officials or politicians are elected by the people to represent their interest in policy and law-making. The elected officials then vote on laws, policies, and other government projects on behalf of the people. The whole general population doesn’t have to vote on every issue as it is in direct democracy. Nearly 70% of the world’s states employ a state based on representative democracy, including the United Kingdom (a Constitutional monarchy), the U.S. (a democratic state), and France as a unitary country. A representative form of government is also known as indirect democracy, and this form of government has an equal share of opponents and proponents. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of representative democracy.

Pros of Representative Democracy

1. It is an Efficient Form of Government.

The maximization use of an executive law-making body is the key advantage that representative democracy can offer. This law-making body generally is controlled by the laws as well and governed by the state constitution. The body is responsible for implementing and drafting high priority laws, decisions, and policies. On the other hand, indirect democracy, people are free and entitled to participate/ contribute in making national policies through voting. But this can be challenging to manage for states with a large number of people.  The logistics and platform of pulling this off in any state as big as the United Kingdom and the United States of America can be too much of an aggravation. The situation is easily controlled if people vote for a representative they trust will represent their law-making ideas. The elected representative will then draft policies that violate the country’s constitution and benefit a few individuals. In simple terms, anything the elected person draft is considered the voice of people who voted for him/her instead of voting for each law.

Related: Compulsory Voting Pros and Cons

2. Easy Decision Making.

The law-making body comprises individuals voted by the electorate and given the ability/capability to draft or proportionate decisions and policies. This is the best way to enact laws and regulations during emergencies where getting people to vote for the next step can be hard. It is also a wise form of government that speeds up the decision-making process because it is easy for 50 people to become conscious than 100 million people. And the faster the decisions are made, the better the government projects are executed to benefit its citizens. This form of government’s essence is to ensure that the government receives immediate feedback from all the elected people regarding important investments or projects benefiting the people.  In comparison with a direct form of governance whereby people have to read the whole document, prepare for a voting day and voting counting process before making simple policies into practice and delaying the project execution and other benefits, thus giving people time to enjoy simple benefits that they would have done simply in one day.

Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy

3. Gives People the ability to Elect their Representatives.

People/citizens have the right to choose who they want to occupy the office. They also have the power to discern who the best candidate is to represent their interest and defend the opinions and beliefs they hold so strong. This setting means people should choose/vote for those who possess the right qualities to represent everyone’s interests. While holding education and training experiences constant, this form of governance allows people or each state to feel part of the team, making government laws. The aim is to have each and everyone well represented in any law-making process. The best way to ensure that all are represented is by having each group of people represented by someone chosen by a citizen. Making citizen be part of the leading team improve the law-making process and speed up choices. As long as one is eligible to vote, each vote counts on the laws and regulations that the elected person will pass or draft as economic, infrastructure, and social amenities. As a citizen being part of this solution makes each an everyone happy and part of the country.

4. Equal Citizen Representation.

In this form of governance, the citizens eligible to vote elect their representatives to represent them and table the views and opinions to the parliament. With this approach, the people can cast out their thoughts and wishes through their elected representatives. And when they think or feel like some of their ideologies and views are not properly dealt with, they can air their complaints, and their legislatures can act on the same. With this ability, citizens have a watchdog role and allow their representatives to act on the citizens’ views and policies. Engaging people in any government arm makes it easy for the federal government to allocate resources equally since they represent each group’s interests. Unlike any other form of governance, representative democracy allocates the people’s role in the law-making process to a specific group of people. But the elected group don’t make their policies; they table what people want and believe. And by doing this, the country can summarize the whole document by assessing each state’s interests and needs in the country building motive.

5. Summarize the Government’s Problem-Solving Platforms.

With an equal representative by the elected legislative body, the government will be able to spot and identify what is good for a specific state or group of people since the elected person is supposed to have opinions and interests. This way, the government will work on what the elected person has tabled or presented before them. It is also assumed that what the legislatures have is what the people need. It is easy for the federal government to execute 100 suggestions instead of 100 million suggestions from different citizens. Voting in people to represent each state makes it easy for the government to allocate the required resources to meet their needs and daily wants, unlike other forms of governance that will require the government to hear out every citizen’s views before concluding what people need. This also reduces congestion of ideas and opinions and making it easy for the government or relevant body to allocate what is good for the country and the people in each state. As they say, it is all about decisions that lead a countries ability to grow.

6. Encourages the People’s Participations.

With the idea that everyone has a voice/representative in the federal government, citizens will be more inclined to find ideas and be up to date with what is happening in the country and the world government powers. According to the national governance, there is an increased number of people voting anytime there is an election, which means people feel valued when engaged or their decisions are part of the government. Though there are situations where the opposition feels left out since the one elected has none of their views, this form of governance has the best way to engage and involve citizens in the country’s progress and other motives. In a survey conducted by the general election in the house of congress, 80% of the eligible voters who showed up suggested that they are happy to elect someone they like and someone who understands their policies—making this the best way to allow people to express their ideologies through people who they trust and believe as part of their lives. While holding the opposition part constant, it is evident that the person who won the election has the majority’s opinions in each state.

7. Quick Allocation of Resources.

Representing representatives in the government, each with a unique need for people in different states makes the government allocation programs faster and easier. Any suggestion made by the elected person is considered as what people need. When it comes to government infrastructure, social amenities, and other allocation, the process is summarized to what the representative have for their people. Even though the opposition has an opposing view, the winning team’s ideas represent a bigger picture for the people and can be a good choice if acted upon since it affects the larger number.

Cons of Representative Democracy

1. It’s a Misplaced Trust.

Opponents of this way of government argue that when the election or choosing process is completed/over, the people’s voice in the state government is also over. People will just put their trust and faith in their elected legislatures. Eliminating them from accessing the law-making body is not guaranteed that the person elected will deliver the same. In countries with high corruption rates, this form of government has failed terribly as politicians or elected persons tend to forget all they promised.  Although there is a genuinely dedicated representative to representing the citizens, there are many others with hidden agendas/policies that will favor them or a certain group of people. This can only be trusted in countries with high democracy integrity. Still, for many developing countries, this form of governance allows few people to make choices, not the majority of the voters.

Pros and Cons of Representative Democracy

2. Limit Representatives from serving their Jurisdiction.

There are situations when the majority do not have a favorable opinion, and better choices are not entirely on what many people think. Sometimes it requires some serious research, and few people can do that, and picking someone because people think the opinion is good can be dangerous. This implies that the legislature elected by the citizen might have opposing views from some who don’t like the options. This might force the elected person to serve his/her personal needs or opinion, not the citizens. In some cases, rich representatives may not/ will not serve their role well because it is mostly a low-income venture. And failing to relate to the situation may result in misrepresentation of the people’s ideas and beliefs. Some ideas might also be forgotten since the elected person has to find a way to treat each opinion well. And since people cannot reach or air their ideas or reach the government that trusts all of the elected person’s options. The resource allocation will depend entirely on the person’s thoughts or what he/she thinks is the best while forgetting some important aspects and opinions. Besides, the election involves two or more contestants, and only one person will win and act as the representative for all. Some of the opposing views will not be heard, and it doesn’t mean that they are not good for the people.

3. Deceptive Motives.

As soon as the representative is elected into office, he/she may not deliver on his/her promise to the people. Instead, he/she might work towards his/her vested and personal interest for personal gains. This has been the major problems and disadvantages of representative democracy as it allows one person to table and present ideas on behalf of the people. In countries where democracy is not strong enough, politicians use this chance to deliver personal opinions that will benefit them and few rich cartels. A politician can lie that he/she is the best and even copy all the people’s ideas and then claim he/she for the views, but deep down the story, he/she has his/her ideas about the whole platform. The government can consider what the elected team has to be people’s ideas; then, the real team cannot appeal or change the situation. And in most cases, the representative’s views are considered peoples’ thoughts, and nothing the federal government can do but to allocate resources to the ideas that have different motives.

4. Focus on the Majority.

One problem with this form of governance is that it focuses on the majority opinions and views, while the minority parties are left out in the implementation programs. This causes political separation in the country as people/citizens feel that their ideas are being brushed under other people’s rug while the majority is always favored. The minority might have good ideas, but their arguments are always forgotten because of the voting process numbers, making them adjust to new ideologies from the winning team. In a direct democracy, each citizen’s views are responded to, and the law-making body always finds a way to accommodate each opinion.

5. The System Doesn’t Hold the Elected Representative Accountable.

Once the election is offered and someone is elected for a particular seat, they can do whatever they like. This is because the federal government has no right to involve people in the law-making process; they only depend on what people are elected. When things go wrong or turn upside down, there are no constitutional ties that attach the elected representatives’ repercussions. People have against this kind of politician by voting them out on the next voting process.

6. Not always Reliable in Making Important Decisions.

The votes of the elected legislatures in representative democracy may not reflect the will of the citizens. The representatives are not tired by the law to choose how people choose them to wish to vote. Unless otherwise or limits apply to the representative question, the only choice to terminate constituents is to file a case in the law court. This depends on the independence of the court of law. It is also considered an inefficient way of governance as individuals elected might draft laws with massive bureaucracies, which take a long time for executions.

7. Invites Corruption.

It is not a direct guarantee that the elected person has the motive to deliver what he/she promised many politicians might tend to misrepresent their people on issues regarding economic, infrastructure, and social amenities delivery by tabling policies that will benefit certain people to achieve new political power or wealth. While in the legislative office, the elected representative may act in service of financial gain rather than the people’s ideas and social needs or anything else.


On a random assessment, representative democracy should result in a government system formed ‘by the citizens, for the citizens.’ But, its success in doing or performing each citizen will depend on the citizen’s freedom to express their sincere wishes to their politicians and the elected people’s willingness to act accordingly. The system also allows people to be part of the government’s solutions, but this doesn’t mean that every decision made by the majority is the best for the economy. It is then wise as a government to draft a way to address the opposition views and ideas. It is a competition, and the majority wins. The other part has some good views; what they don’t have is the numbers, and if any government can find a way to listen and address those views, then democracy representative is the best government system ever created. Understanding both sides of the system will help you make an educated decision anytime you wish to address some views and opinions related to any form of government in the world. The guide has done some of the key advantages and disadvantages of representative democracy.


Urbinati N. Representative democracy: principles and genealogy. University of Chicago Press; 2006.


Vestbro DU. Citizen participation or representative democracy? the case of Stockholm, Sweden. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research. 2012 Apr 1:5-17.


Budge I. Direct and representative democracy: Are they necessarily opposed?. Representation. 2006 Apr 1;42(1):1-2.


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