This chapter begins by examining and critiquing the version of democracy that might come closest to the common understanding of democracy: direct democracy. It is argued that the problems that direct democracy presents are insurmountable; it cannot give citizens the type of control over the institutions of the state necessary to ensure good government. The chapter then discusses representative democracy, those models of democracy in which decisions are made by legislatures elected by the citizenry. The role of the legislature as a forum for determining the policy direction of the state will be considered. The final part of the chapter examines the role of political parties. Whilst political scientists have long studied—and valued—political parties, outside of this discipline parties are frequently reviled and often overlooked. It will be argued that the mediating role of political parties is essential for the functioning of democracy.
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