Direct democracy is similar to, but distinct from, representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then enact policy initiatives.democracyDepending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.Most countries that are representative democracies allow for three forms of political action that provide limited direct democracy: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall.

Referendums may include the ability to hold a binding vote on whether a given law should be rejected. This effectively grants the populace which holds suffrage a veto on a law adopted by the elected legislature (one nation to use this system is Switzerland). Other referendums allow the citizens of a place to vote on whether they want a law brought into being. In conjunction with a strong initiative law, this could mean the passage of a law despite the opposition of the elected representatives.

Power of Initiative allows members of the general public to compel the government to consider (or even pass) laws (usually after a referendum) without the consent of the elected representatives, or even against their expressed opposition.

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