Direct Democracy vs. Indirect Democracy

Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power lies in the hands of the people. In a democratic nation, every citizen has one vote, which could be cast in favor of or against government policy. Further, in a democracy, the response of the taxpayers acts as the basis of the government. It may be in the form of direct democracy or indirect democracy. Direct democracy refers to the system in which citizens has the right to take part in the decision making process.

To the contrary, indirect democracy suggests a democracy in which the citizens select their agent, to actively participate in the administration of the government and act on their own behalf.

Comparison Chart

Meaning Direct democracy refers to a form of government wherein taxpayers outside rightly take part in the administration of the government. Indirect democracy suggests a democracy in which people vote for their representative, to represent them in the Parliament.
Policies Government policies are determined by the people themselves. People elect their representatives to take decisions on government policies.
Legislature Whole community forms legislature. Representatives of the winning party form a government and are part of the legislature.
Suitability Nations whose population size is small. Nations whose population size is large.

What is Direct Democracy?

Direct Democracy or otherwise known as pure democracy or participatory democracy, is one in which decisions relating to the laws and policies of the government are accepted by the people directly. It requires direct participation from the citizens of the nation in day to day decision making and administration of the government. Switzerland is one of the states where direct democracy is widespread.

In this form of government, each law, policy or bill is passed only when voted on by all the taxpayers of the nation. Here, all the individuals of the government come together increases issues, enter into discussions to think of a decision that’s agreeable to all. So, the citizens of the nation have a direct say in the formulating laws and the affairs that influence them.

What is Indirect Democracy?

Indirect democracy or popularly called as representative democracy is the system of government wherein folks choose their agents, to represent them in the Parliament and actively participate in running the government.

So, the participation of the citizens is restricted in taking important decisions and the formulation of policies. India is a frequent case of indirect democracy.

In an indirect democracy, a politician is elected from each constituency who represents the men and women who voted for him in the parliament. It relies on fair and free elections wherein individuals who are currently ruling have a just and reasonable likelihood of losing. Thus, the elected politician could be taken out of the office and made accountable for the work performed by them for the community.

Key Differences between Direct Democracy and Indirect Democracy

  1. Direct democracy could be called the system of the government, wherein the execution of laws is possible by the general vote of all citizens of the While indirect democracy is that form of government in which the citizens of the nation votes for the agents who are empowered to choose their behalf.
  2. In a direct democracy the choices relating to government policies, laws and other issues, are accepted by the people. While in an indirect democracy, the people choose their representatives, takes decisions on the formulation of laws and policies.
  3. In a direct democracy, the whole community forms the legislature. On the other hand, in an indirect democracy, the elected representatives of the winning party forms the government and are part of the legislature.
  4. While direct democracy is most appropriate for small nations, indirect democracy is great for large nations.


Direct democracy is a clear democracy that is suitable for the nations where population size is less. But, it cannot be practiced in a country with large population size, and in which a decision has to be obtained by crores of people. Due to this drawback, agent or indirect democracy came into being that overcomes the disadvantages of the direct democracy.

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