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We believe that representative democracy, as it exists today in Europe, no longer meets the expectations of citizens. Theoretically, voters send deputies to Parliament to represent them. In practice, political professionals often monopolize a member of parliament whose primary objective is for the party’s re-election. There are, of course, a few politicians whose ideology is to represent their constituents and consider themselves to be public servants, yet all too often the representative system overwhelms the voices of such individual politicians.
The risks of abuse that arise from a purely representative system include everything from corruption, cronyism, electioneering, multiple directorships, careerism and submission to lobbyists. The result is a distinct asymmetry between the will of the people, and the influence exercised by those elected.
Indeed, there is little to compel a candidate to fulfil the promises he made to the electorate once he is elected. Thus the spectacle of a politician acting in exactly the opposite way to what he may have promised during the campaign has become all too common. Without being subject to parliamentary recall, where the electorate can call for the resignation of a politician, once elected, a minimum term is almost guaranteed, whatever a politician’s perceived popularity.
Contempt for democracy is then amplified by the very nature of various institutions within a representative democracy that often end up introspectively self-interested, serving their own prosperity rather than service to the general public. In most European countries using this system, all too often politicians are obedient to their respective parties, and cooperation among established parties prevents the emergence of any alternative political formation. Indeed, in many political systems, a strong propensity for bipartisanship, where opposing political parties work together on common ground often results in the deliberate obstruction of opposition voices. This leads to a situation where citizens are asked to decide between two candidates generated by a single system, even though the purpose of the election should be to choose the very system that governs public life.