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Referendums present a more democratic form of participation than the opportunity to vote in elections - discuss

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Introduction

? c) 'Referendums represent a more democratic form of participation than the opportunity to vote in elections' It can be explored that holding referendums on certain issues would be a more democratic way in which the electorate could vote, rather than their chance to vote in elections, which, on average, is every 5 years. This in turn could provide a useful and significant way as to increase political participation because referendums present the chance of direct democracy and have a strong advantage over elections. This is because referendums can allow the people to make decisions directly and focus on specific issues, creating a sense of participatory democracy. On the otherhand, referendums can be seen to conflict with the principles of our parliamentary democracy, and the electorate can be influenced in their vote. ...read more.

Middle

Members of the public may have a stronger incentive to think and act politically, and alowing debate, it helps to create a more educated and participatory democracy. On the other hand, in certain cases they may lead to low turnout and a lack of interest, for example when referndums are held often or concern highly technical matters. In cases like this, a legitmacy problem rises, as the end result may not be totally representave of what the people want. This was shown in the Greater London Authority referendum in 1998, where the 72% voted for a mayor of London, yet the voting turnout was only 34%. This result clearly favoured the support for a Mayor. In turn, this shows that although a referendum may be a more democratic approach, low voting turnout can mean decisions are made with little legitimacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall, Referendums are more democratic than voting in elections, as in elections, you are voting for someone else to represent you, whilst in a referendum, the electorate is directly voting for a policy. ?Although this is true, referendums can be seen as flawed as they undermine our current parliamentary system, and our sovereingty. Although there is a chance that referendums may increase voting turnout, it is likely that for each referendum there will be a low turnout, and this will mean that each policy will be a lack of legitimacy. Also, the electorate votes in an election to choose those who will represent the people and who have experience in the field of politics, unlike the general public, who are ill-informed on certain political policies. This in turn means that although referendums present a true form of democracy, they can lead to policies that have little legitimacy, and it may be that politicians present a better understanding of what the country needs. ? ...read more.

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