Representative democracy

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Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy.[1]

The representatives form an independent ruling body (for an election period) charged with the responsibility of acting in the people's interest, but not as their proxy representatives not necessarily always according to their wishes, but with enough authority to exercise swift and resolute initiative in the face of changing circumstances. It is often contrasted with direct democracy, where representatives are absent or are limited in power as proxy representatives.

A representative democracy that emphasizes individual liberty is a liberal democracy. One that does not is an illiberal democracy. There is no necessity that individual liberties be respected in a representative democracy.

Today, in liberal democracies, representatives are usually elected in multi-party elections that are free and fair. The power of representatives in a liberal democracy is usually curtailed by a constitution (as in a constitutional democracy or a constitutional monarchy) or other measures to balance representative power:[citation needed]

The term republic may have many different meanings. It normally means a state with an elected or otherwise non-monarchical head of state, such as the Islamic Republic of Iran or Republic of Korea. Sometimes in the US it is used similar to liberal democracy. For example, "the United States relies on representative democracy, but its system of government is much more complex than that. It is not a simple representative democracy, but a constitutional republic in which majority rule is tempered."[2]

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