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Direct Democracy or Representative Government? 1 The title of this classic work promises a comparison between two seemingly independent forms of government. 2 Such comparisons proceed as if direct democracy and representative government were separate sets of institutions. But it should be clear that in modern democracies comparisons of this kind are misplaced. The two forms of government are not independent. Direct democracy’s dependence on representative government is easy to show, but representative government’s need for direct democracy is more complicated, and less appreciated. This chapter briefly considers the former dependence but focuses on the latter, with the aim of showing why representative government requires direct democracy.


Thompson, Dennis F. "Why representative democracy requires referendums." Comparative Election Law. Ed. James A. Gardner. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022, 193-211.