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Direct election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Direct election is a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the persons or political party that they desire to see elected.[1] The method by which the winner or winners of a direct election are chosen depends upon the electoral system used. The most commonly used systems are the plurality system and the two-round system for single-winner elections, such as a presidential election, and proportional representation for the election of a legislature or executive.[2]

Emmanuel Macron is currently the only directly elected leader in Western Europe.
Erdogan is one of the only two leaders to be directly elected in both Europe and Asia.
Philippines president Bongbong Marcos is the only directly elected leader in Asia besides Turkey.

By contrast, in an indirect election, the voters elect a body which in turn elects the officeholder in question.[3]

In a double direct election, the elected representative serves on two councils, typically a lower-tier municipality and an upper-tier regional district or municipality.

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Heads of state

History of direct presidential elections

The idea that heads of state be elected directly by the people progressed slowly throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.[11] This differs from parliamentary systems where executives derive power from the legislative body.[12]


Many African nations have moved from parliamentary to presidential systems. Regardless of constitutional structures, presidents often have immense power over other political decision-making bodies.[13] Given this power, much of the political violence around elections stems from the elections of presidents.[14] Additionally, recent coups and conflict have postponed direct presidential elections in several African countries.[15]


The overwhelming majority of democracies in Asia are parliamentary, rather than presidential systems. Based on constitutional design, the Philippines is the only head of state elected by popular vote.[16] Although classified as a semi-presidential system, South Korea in political reality has a strong presidential system as well based on changes in 1987 to its constitution.[17]Turkey holds direct elections to elect it’s president.[18][19]


The first major European country to use direct elections was France (1848). However, if no candidate received a majority of the vote the National Assembly chose the winner from the top five candidates.[20] Germany (1919) was the first European country to use direct election of a president without intervention by the legislature.[21]Currently only Turkey and France hold direct elections in Europe.[22][23][24]

Colonial legacies

A major debate exists regarding colonial legacies and the promotion of democracy around the world.[25] In terms of direct elections, former British colonies are less likely to hold direct elections for heads of state. Additionally no monarchies have direct elections for head of state since by definition the head of state is unelected.[26]

North America

United States

The conceptual origins of direct presidential elections stem from the U.S. Constitution (1787) through the Electoral College. The Framers intended for the a small group of electors, through methods determined by each state, to elect the president. Thus in practice this represents a form of indirect election.[27]

South America

Bolstered by opposition groups, institutional and constitutional change in the 1980s and 1990s led to direct elections of presidents in many South American countries.[28][29] These changes created centralized power in presidential positions, often blurring the line of separation of powers and making them powerful decision-makers over the legislature and cabinet.[30][31]

Advantages and disadvantages of directly electing the head of state

A common political debate, particularly as countries consider governmental reforms, is whether or not direct elections of heads of state strengthen democratic practices among citizens. Selection mechanisms for heads of state can lead to varying outcomes in terms of voter interest, turnout, and overall engagement.[32] For example, some scholars argue that direct elections will mobilize voters and increase their trust in the political process, particularly in emerging democracies.[33] Others note that frequent direct elections may decrease turnout due to voter fatigue and apathy.[34]

Direct elections in legislatures and parliaments


See also


  1. ^ StudyHQ (19 January 2021). "Direct Election | Definition, Features, Pros & Cons — StudyHQ (2021 PDF)". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  2. ^ Bormann, Nils-Christian; Golder, Matt (2013-06-01). "Democratic Electoral Systems around the world, 1946–2011". Electoral Studies. 32 (2): 360–369. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2013.01.005. ISSN 0261-3794. S2CID 154632837.
  3. ^ StudyHQ (19 January 2021). "Indirect Election | Definition, Features, Merits And Demerits — StudyHQ (2021 PDF)". Retrieved 2021-11-15.
  4. ^ "How are members of the European Parliament elected? | News | European Parliament". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  5. ^ "House of Representatives | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  6. ^ "U.S. Senate: About Electing and Appointing Senators". Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  7. ^ "U.S. Senate: Landmark Legislation: The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution". Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  8. ^ "The President: Four questions answered". 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  9. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Refworld. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  10. ^ SABAH, DAILY (2021-08-02). "Turkey's new constitution to allow citizens to introduce laws". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  11. ^ Blais, André; Massicotte, Louis; Dobrzynska, Agnieszka (1997-12-01). "Direct presidential elections: a world summary". Electoral Studies. 16 (4): 441–455. doi:10.1016/S0261-3794(97)00020-6. ISSN 0261-3794.
  12. ^ Badie, Bertrand; Berg-Schlosser, Dirk; Morlino, Leonardo (2011), "Parliamentary Systems", International Encyclopedia of Political Science, Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., pp. 1767–1771, doi:10.4135/9781412994163, ISBN 9781412959636, retrieved 2023-03-13
  13. ^ van de Walle, Nicolas (2003). "Presidentialism and clientelism in Africa's emerging party systems". The Journal of Modern African Studies. 41 (2): 297–321. doi:10.1017/S0022278X03004269. ISSN 0022-278X.
  14. ^ Kaaba, O'Brien; Fombad, Charles M. (2021). "Adjudication of Disputed Presidential Elections in Africa". pp. 361–400. doi:10.1093/oso/9780192894779.003.0014. ISBN 978-0-19-289477-9. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  15. ^ "Africa's Complex 2022 Elections". Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  16. ^ Electoral politics in Southeast & East Asia. Gabriele Bruns, Aurel Croissant, Marei John. Singapore: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. 2002. ISBN 981-04-6020-1. OCLC 223396951.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  17. ^ "The Weakness of the Strongest Institution: South Korea's Presidential System". The Geopolitics. 2022-02-19. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  18. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Refworld. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  19. ^ SABAH, DAILY (2021-08-02). "Turkey's new constitution to allow citizens to introduce laws". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  20. ^ Blais, André; Massicotte, Louis; Dobrzynska, Agnieszka (1997-12-01). "Direct presidential elections: a world summary". Electoral Studies. 16 (4): 441–455. doi:10.1016/S0261-3794(97)00020-6. ISSN 0261-3794.
  21. ^ Bartsch, Kolja. "German Bundestag - The Weimar Republic (1918 - 1933)". German Bundestag. Retrieved 2023-03-07.
  22. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Refworld. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  23. ^ SABAH, DAILY (2021-08-02). "Turkey's new constitution to allow citizens to introduce laws". Daily Sabah. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  24. ^ "The President: Four questions answered". 2014-11-06. Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  25. ^ Lee, Alexander; Paine, Jack (2019-09-01). "British colonialism and democracy: Divergent inheritances and diminishing legacies". Journal of Comparative Economics. 47 (3): 487–503. doi:10.1016/j.jce.2019.02.001. ISSN 0147-5967. S2CID 159451218.
  26. ^ Blais, André; Massicotte, Louis; Dobrzynska, Agnieszka (1997-12-01). "Direct presidential elections: a world summary". Electoral Studies. 16 (4): 441–455. doi:10.1016/S0261-3794(97)00020-6. ISSN 0261-3794.
  27. ^ "Interpretation: Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3 | Constitution Center". National Constitution Center – Retrieved 2023-03-07.
  28. ^ Hakim, Peter; Lowenthal, Abraham F (1991). "Latin America's Fragile Democracies" (PDF). Journal of Democracy. 2 (3): 16–29. doi:10.1353/jod.1991.0042. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 154861342.
  29. ^ Barczak, Monica (2001). "Representation By Consultation? The Rise of Direct Democracy in Latin America". Latin American Politics and Society. 43 (3): 37–59. doi:10.1111/j.1548-2456.2001.tb00178.x. ISSN 1531-426X. S2CID 155019931.
  30. ^ Palanza, Valeria (2021-01-22). "The Presidency in Latin American Politics". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1674. ISBN 978-0-19-022863-7. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  31. ^ Mainwaring, Scott (1990). "Presidentialism in Latin America". Latin American Research Review. 25 (1): 157–179. doi:10.1017/S0023879100023256. ISSN 0023-8791. JSTOR 2503565. S2CID 252947271.
  32. ^ Tavits, Margit (2009). "Direct Presidential Elections and Turnout in Parliamentary Contests". Political Research Quarterly. 62 (1): 42–54. doi:10.1177/1065912908317026. ISSN 1065-9129. JSTOR 27759844. S2CID 153942262.
  33. ^ Lindberg, Staffan I. (2006). Democracy and elections in Africa. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8925-7. OCLC 213305486.
  34. ^ Norris, Pippa (2004). Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511790980. ISBN 978-0-521-82977-9.
  35. ^ "How are members of the European Parliament elected? | News | European Parliament". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  36. ^ "House of Representatives | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica". Retrieved 2022-06-30.
  37. ^ "U.S. Senate: About Electing and Appointing Senators". Retrieved 2022-09-02.
  38. ^ "U.S. Senate: Landmark Legislation: The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution". Retrieved 2022-09-02.

This page was last edited on 27 November 2023, at 09:12
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