Direct Election | Definition, Features, Pros & Cons

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Direct Election | Definition, Features, Characteristics | Advantages and Disadvantages

Direct Election
Direct Election

What is an Election?

An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. Source – Wikipedia

What is Direct Election?

Direct election is a process by which the voters participate directly in the choice of public office holders. Direct election involve the electorate casting their votes directly in an election for candidates of their choice that will represent them either in the executive or legislature, without any interference.

An example of direct election is the election of the President of France which has been a popular vote since the amendment of the Constitution of the first French Republic in 1962.

Features Of Direct Election

The characteristics and features Direct Election include the following;

  1. The voters that do not need to go through any intermediate body or person to select their political leaders.
  2. Direct election is the method of election most closely associated with democracy.
  3. Direct election may be open or secret ballot, by proxy or by postal voting.
  4. It may take the form of referendum, plebiscite, recall or initiative.
  5. Direct elections will be conducted in small or large States.

Advantages Of Direct Election

Direct election has the following advantages.

  1. It allows the electorate themselves to choose their representatives.
  2. The voters know the candidates and issues directly involved in an election and this raises thier political consciousness.
  3. There is direct communication between the electors and the prospective political leaders.
  4. The rights of the electors are restored in voting for the right candidate of their choice.
  5. It satisfies the Democratic principle by its openness and Awards mass participation in political decision making of the country.
  6. Direct election is simple and easy-to-understand by the electorate. It gives the electorate quality of votes; One Man, One Votes.

Disadvantages Of Direct Election

Direct election has the following disadvantages.

  1. If the electorate is left to itself, ad direct election purports to do, it may not be able to make the best choice among candidates. This is largely the case with ignorant or uninformed voters.
  2. It is difficult to organise a direct election in a large inter-developed country with poor infrastructure.
  3. Although a direct election is open, the real issues and interests at stake tended to be masqueraded. As such, election is more or less a ritual as the preferred candidates representing the interests of the party oligarchy still have a very good chance of being elected.
  4. This mode of election is expensive to operate as the government, Electoral Commission, political parties and even candidates have to expend huge amounts of money on elections.
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