9 Features of Indirect Democracy

Alex Williams
10 Min Read

After several countries gained freedom, most of them aimed toward becoming democratic nations. According to the democratic index, there are about 167 democratic countries and territories in the world. According to the researchers, the first known democracy was established in Athens during 508-507 BC. Talking about democracy, have you heard about the different features of indirect democracy? Well, today you will learn about what is indirect democracy with example and what are the four devices of indirect democracy.

A. What is Indirect Democracy with Example?

The system in which elected candidates or a group of candidates are in-charge of exercising control over governance is known as a representative democracy or indirect democracy. Here, the legally sovereign public arranges to rule on behalf of the group of people, but they do not have any participation in the government. In simple words, features of indirect democracy in which people do not participate in the law-making process of the country, but, elect representatives who can make laws for them. 

For example,

  • India is a federal parliamentary republic.
  • France is a unitary semi-presidential republic.
  • The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy.
  • The United States is a federal presidential republic.

B. What are the Features of Indirect Democracy?

This type of democracy has various features and characteristics. Here is the list of the features of indirect democracy and we will give a brief description of them.

  • People are entrusted with sovereignty.
  • The importance of legislature plays its role.
  • Representative Administration works efficiently.
  • Laws are prepared by elected representatives.
  • The Judiciary system is responsible for building a good society.
  • Limited tenure is set for the elected members.
  • It helps in shaping the personality of candidates.
  • The election is conducted every few years.
  • Welfare Administration System is established.

1.  People are Entrusted with Sovereignty

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The meaning of term sovereignty is the power of a country to control its government. In an indirect democracy, the power of sovereignty is in the hands of the public. The opinion of the people is no less than the opinion of the Almighty. Government works for the public and does not ignore public opinion. Necessary changes are done as per the majority’s decision. (See Why is Government Necessary?)

2. Importance of Legislature plays its Role

The branch of government that is responsible for making laws through deliberations passes the laws and governs them. The legislature is the best possible institution of the government that is also a protector of the public interest. In a representative democracy, elected representatives make the decisions related to the legislature and according to the majority opinion of the public. For an indirect democracy to progress, the legislature should not be ignored. Must read What were the Strengths of the Articles of Confederation?

3. Representative Administration works efficiently

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Another feature of indirect democracy is that in a representative democracy, the representatives are elected through elections. The representatives administer the problems and issues of the public, work with the support of the public, and sort out the best possible solutions. These elected representatives are government officials.

4. Laws are prepared by the Elected Representatives

Since the elected representatives are an important part of the legislature, they are bestowed with the power of making laws that are beneficial for the public and that too with the consideration of the public. However, the public does not participate in the law-making process and the law that gets the majority in the legislature gets passed. However, the law is passed for the benefit of the public at large. (See Why do We Need a Government?)

5. Judiciary System is Responsible for Building a Good Society

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The branch of the government that interprets law administers justice for the citizens, and settles disputes is known as the judiciary. Democracy is protected at large by the judiciary. Here, the features of indirect democracy have the responsibility of maintaining peace and friendship among the public. Its major responsibility is to spread democracy and to maintain freedom, equality, and impartiality by seeking the truth, and building a progressive society. (See Why does the Texas Constitution create a Fragmented Executive Branch?)

6. Limited Tenure is set for Elected Members

Every elected representative has a fixed tenure after which they have to face the process of re-election. This is beneficial as the power is not confined to the hands of just one person. Their work represents and affects the decisions of the public. (See Which countries have unlimited government?)

7. It helps in Shaping the Personality of Candidates

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Further in the list of features of indirect democracy is personality development. The person, who is elected to be the representative of the public, gets a chance to improve their personality too. This is because they are exposed to numerous opportunities where they have to showcase their political talent. During their tenure, everyone becomes aware of the talent of the representatives. Learn Why making Political Allies is a Key Strategy for Lobbyists?

8. Election is Conducted Every Few Years

The system of election makes it last longer and become popular. Because of the election system, one person is selected among many and is bestowed with the opportunity to work on the behalf of a majority of the people which leads to the solving of various problems for let’s say 5 years. (See What are the Southern Colonies Government?)

9. Welfare Administration System is Established

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In an indirect democracy, it is the responsibility of government officials to always keep a check on what is good for the public. The interests of the public are their main responsibility, and they cannot ignore the delegates because they are a part of the public as well. (See What are Two Types of Oligarchies?)

C. What are the Four Devices of Indirect Democracy?

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Every democracy needs a set of devices for functioning properly and maintaining the nation. After learning about the features of indirect democracy, here are the four devices with their brief description.

  • Cabinet Form: This device or form of indirect democracy consists of high-ranking government officials mostly the top leaders of the executive branch. These members are known as the secretaries or the cabinet ministers depending on the form of government exercised in the country. In a parliamentary form of government, like that of the United Kingdom, the Cabinet helps in giving directions to the government while legislation is passed. However, in a presidential government, like in the United States, the cabinet is the official advisory council for the head of government. 
  • Federal Form: This is a mix of governments including the central one along with the regional governments within the political system. In this form, the government is divided into central and state. The state is further divided into provinces, territories, and cantons. The state government remains the ultimate head and the state or provincial governments are answerable to it. This form is commonly seen in the governments of the United States, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Australia, Iraq, etc.
  • Presidential Form: This form has the President as the head of the executive branch and this branch is independent of the control of the legislative branch. Like in the United States, the President is the ultimate head of the government. The president is elected through public elections but he or she is not answerable to the legislature. Except for extraordinary cases, the president cannot be dismissed by the legislature.
  • Unitary Form: It is a single state where the central government is the supreme authority. Here the government may abolish, create, or recreate various administrative subdivisions. However, this device is in action only for the powers that the central government bestowed them with.

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