Democracy's Woes May Be Overstated



There’s More to Democracy Than Polling Day: Citizen Engagement Between Elections
Australian Electoral Commission


The author reviews the arguments as to why liberal democracy is struggling in the contemporary world, particularly the decline in relevance of major parties as they retreat from engagement with citizens.

He argues that there are plenty of scholars and other commentators who see democracy as being in the process of renewing itself.

The author points to a number of liberal democracies around the world that have recently updated their systems through constitutional change and other reforms.

He also points to the increasing frequency of 'people's conventions' being convened to allow citizens to have direct input into major policy decisions and processes.

He concludes that: 'By no means are deliberative approaches, such as people's conventions, a be all and end all; but they do represent significant additions to our repertoire of representative institutions, and they show seriousness of intent to engage with citizens more proactively in-between elections.'


Thumbnail image: Josh Haroldson/Flickr

David Farrell

University College, Dublin

Published Date
February 15, 2013