Direct Democracies

SEP 28

Preliminary   > Polity   >   Miscellaneous   >   Features of constitution

Why in news?

  • Swiss people have rejected a initiative to dramatically reduce immigration from the European Union.
  • Switzerland uses many tools of direct democracy and legislative proposals are regularly rejected using tools like referendum.

About Direct Democracies:

  • Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly.
  • This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are representative democracies.
  • This is because while good in theory, direct democracies present several problems when emulated in large countries.
  • Some countries can however be considered Semi-direct democracies, in which representatives administer day-to-day governance, but the citizens remain the sovereign and they allow for three forms of popular action: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall.
  • In India, the Grama Sabha, where every eligible voter is a member, can be considered as an example of direct democracy.

Various tools used in direct democracy:

  • Referendum is a procedure whereby a proposed legislation is referred to the electorate for settlement by their direct votes.
  • Initiative is a method by means of which the people can propose a bill to the legislature for enactment.
  • Recall is a method by means of which the voters can remove a representative or an officer before the expiry of his term, when he fails to discharge his duties properly.
  • Plebiscite is a method of obtaining the opinion of people on any issue of public importance. It is very similar to referendum and both terms are often used alternately.


Which of the following are tools used in states which are direct democracies?
1. Referendum
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a)1 and 2 only
(b)1 and 3 only
(c)3 only
(d)1,2 and 3

Answer to prelims question