Before entering fully into the meaning of the term direct democracy, we have to proceed to know the etymological origin of the two words that give it shape:
-Democracy derives from the Greek, it is exactly the result of the sum of two components of that language: the noun “demos”, which can be translated as “people”; the noun “kratos”, which is synonymous with “government”; and the suffix “-ia”, which is used to indicate “quality”.
-Direct, on the other hand, comes from Latin, in its case from “directus”, which means “in a straight line”. We can state that it is the result of the union of the prefix “di-”, which is equivalent to “multiple divergence”, and the adjective “rectu”, which means “right”.
Democracy is known as a form of government in which citizens hold political power. The exercise of said power can be done through representatives or directly.
Representative democracy, in this framework, is one that is exercised through the representatives that arise from free elections that take place periodically. Direct democracy, on the other hand, is exercised by citizens without the medication of any delegate.
Plebiscites, referendums and neighborhood assemblies are three of the mechanisms that allow the exercise of direct democracy. In this way the people elect public officials and approve or repeal the laws that regulate the organization of society.
In addition to all that has been indicated, we can underline the fact that the direct democracy that concerns us is based, therefore, on four keys or fundamental pillars, such as the following:
-The revocable delegation.
-The assembly, which acts as a system, means and tool of popular initiative.
-Trial by jury.
-The imperative command.
It is interesting to know that the first time that the direct democracy that concerns us was used and experienced was in the ancient democracy of Athens, back in 508 BC From that moment, it had a validity and use of about two centuries, during which the power was in the hands of an assembly that was made up of all male citizens.
In the modern world, the development of a direct democracy is very difficult due to the size of the population and the complexity of societies. However, most representative democracies incorporate elements of direct democracy to allow people to participate more actively.
Suppose that a presidential republic, which has a president as head of state and whose Constitution establishes the existence of three independent powers (Judicial Power, Legislative Power and Executive Power), enables the calling of plebiscites. In this context, the president decides to consult citizens on the possibility of eliminating compulsory military service. Thus, he calls a plebiscite open to the entire electoral roll, where he asks himself: “Do you agree with eliminating compulsory military service?” . There are two possible answers: “Yes” and “No”. As the result of the vote shows that 79% of the population is in favor of said elimination, the president decrees the end of compulsory military service in his nation. The population, therefore, was able to exercise direct democracy.