representative democracy

Representative democracy is a form of democracy in which citizens elect a representative from a list of candidates on a ballot. In most cases a single member voting system is used in which each constituency or riding elects one representative.

Once elected, representatives are usually expected to use their own judgment as to which issues they will devote themselves to, and what positions they take on those issues. They are not bound to consult their constituents, even though it is usually in their best interest to do so.

In modern times, the mass media has strengthened the role of political parties in elections, so that in many elections, voters are actually choosing between party leaders, and political platforms rather than between candidates. This development has reduced the political importance of representatives who are not close advisors to their party leader. Non-influential representatives are said to be on the back bench.

related issues: democracy, liberal democracy, deliberative democracy, direct democracy, politics as usual, ,,,