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Thinking about elections and about democratic representation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 April 2011

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[Political representation] is the basis of modern representative democracy. Older and less sophisticated forms, such as direct democracy, subsist marginally, even if they keep exerting a certain attraction. But representative democracy does not carry the self-evident authority it once had. Like every modern institution it is under challenge and consequently needs to be defended. In actual politics, the defence often takes the form of discussion of the merits of one system over the other and of proposals for change. The part of this defence appertaining to constitutional scholarship is not concerned primarily with proposals and changes. It is, before all, to brush up the fundamentals underlying representative democracy, on the basis of topical issues.

There are three current issues upon which we would like to draw attention. They are: equality in structuring electoral systems, the processes of electoral reform and the rise of non-majoritarian institutions versus parliamentary democracy.

Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Press and the Authors 2011