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Direct democracy

Direct democracy is a form of government in which all citizens can directly participate in the decision-making process. This was first experimented with in ancient Athens, which was governed for some time by a council of representatives and a general assembly of all citizens.

The restrictive conditions for citizenship (only a very small male elite could participate) and small size of the Athens city-state minimized the logistical difficulties inherent to this form of government. Since then, however, this form of government has rarely been used (for example in some cantons of Switzerland and in town meetings[?] in parts of New England). Modern mass-suffrage democracies generally rely on representatives elected by citizens.

Many poltical movements seek to restore some measure of direct democracy or a more deliberative democracy (based on consensus decision making rather than simple majority rule). Such movements advocate more frequent public votes and referendums on issues, and less of the so-called "rule by politician." Collectively, these movements are referred to as advocating grassroots democracy or consensus democracy, to differentiate it from a simple direct-democracy model. The term semi-direct democracy is also sometimes used.

See also: semi-direct democracy, direct action, Democracy, grassroots democracy, consensus democracy, deliberative democracy

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