Is Representative Democracy Really Democratic?
Throughout the history of governance structure many scholars and theorist have critically and constantly tried to answer this question. Democracy has been virtually accepted as basic human right. With the interest of polity in mind, democracy is exercised under the conditions of responsibility, liberty, equality, freedom and transparency. As an ideal, individual social justice, dignity of individual fundamental rights, economic and social developments are fostered through democracy. Hence, representative democracy poses a big question on its form to represent a democratic process.
Representative democracy has been taunted as a strong system. Moreover, it makes provisions through political institutions, through the constitution, and law for checks and balances. In similar ways, limitation of absolute power is justified. The spirit of the system according to American Development Bank is not democracy, but a system where any institutions are brought to account for actions, decisions or dead's they undertake. Hence, various devices are put in place to ensure minimal abuse of power.
Representative democracy is seen to exist more predominately in an elective system. Through, a free and fair election in an environment of freedom of speech, interchange of power through a universally accepted standards the system exist at its best. In addition, elective members are more responsive owing to the fact that the system allows periodical elections and hence the citizen's will remain paramount. In retrospect, an elected system of government is limited by the constitution and the pledges it made to the people to promote social, economic and infrastructural development.
On the contrary, other school of thought suggests that in a representative democracy the cry of interest groups may sometimes fall on deaf ears in an already powerful government. Though pressure groups give rise to special problems, in some instances, they may increase arbitrary governments bringing the core principal of democracy on tension. Hence, factionalism may take a course leading to pursuit of separate ends. In addition, other facets of democracy like freedom of speech, criticism, and legal restrictions may be imposed on pressure groups by an already powerful government to curtail the whole process of democracy.
Nevertheless, representative democracy enhances distribution of power and enhances discussion and debate in the process of decision making. In essence, wide spectrum of views and the core objective of representation are maintained. Though democracy is a complex endeavor in complex societies, collective responsibilities of leaders and elected representatives ensures the will of the people were fulfilled through an organized system.