90 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

The only obstacle between a government by the people and a dictatorship are the people.
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
81 votes
Accepted

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

Most democratic countries have a constitution which says how the state functions and what kinds of laws can and can not be made. Laws which contradict the constitution are usually declared invalid by ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 76.2k
65 votes

Has there ever been a successful shift from a two-party system to a multi-party system in modern history?

New Zealand switched from first-past-the-post to "mixed member proportional representation (MMP)" starting in the 1996 election (https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/fpp-to-mmp). Seats won by ...
user103496's user avatar
  • 5,383
44 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

A good example of a system trying to prevent this is the Constitution of Norway. The constitution has various ways to protect itself from being altered in undesirable ways. Changes to the ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
  • 1,900
42 votes

Who is the oldest parliamentarian (legislator) on record?

I don't know if there are any older cases, but Strom Thurmond stepped down from the US Senate at age 100 years and 29 days, having served just short of 50 years as a Senator for South Carolina. There ...
GB supports the mod strike's user avatar
31 votes

Why do legislative committees exist?

Committees exist primarily to increase the efficiency with which legislative bodies can review potential legislation. Carefully considering a bill is a time consuming process, and the more people ...
ohwilleke's user avatar
  • 77.9k
30 votes

Who is the oldest parliamentarian (legislator) on record?

Manny Shinwell at 101 After quite a long career in the House of Commons (UK) as a Labour MP from 1922 to 1924, and 1928 to 1970 (and an arrest for Red Clydeside agitation in 1919 in Glasgow!), he ...
user_1818839's user avatar
24 votes

Has any head of state/government or other politician in office performed their duties while legally imprisoned, arrested or paroled/on probation?

Fiona Onasanya was elected in 2017 as the Labour MP for Peterborough, but was convicted of perverting the course of justice in December 2018 after lying about who was driving her car when it was ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 106k
22 votes

Expulsion of elected members of the legislature - where is it possible?

In the United States there is the process of Expulsion which can be used by the US Senate and the US House of Representatives to remove the mandate of one of their elected members. This process is ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 76.2k
22 votes

Who is the oldest parliamentarian (legislator) on record?

Rita Levi-Montalcini (103) Scientist, Nobel prize laureate, appointed as Senator for Life in 2001 by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. She died in 2012 at the age of 103.
They call me Trinity's user avatar
20 votes

Why do bills with a veto-proof majority in Congress go to the President?

Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution specifically states that all bills are sent to the President and that vetoed bills must be returned to Congress for reconsideration: ... Every bill which ...
divibisan's user avatar
  • 25.9k
19 votes

Expulsion of elected members of the legislature - where is it possible?

Yes, the UK would be one example. The expulsion by the House of Commons of one of its Members may be regarded as an example of the House's power to regulate its own constitution, though it is, for ...
richardb's user avatar
  • 3,674
19 votes

Has there ever been a successful shift from a two-party system to a multi-party system in modern history?

France France, though formally a multi-party system, was for about half a century essentially a two-party competition between the socialist party (Parti socialiste) and the right-wing gaullist party ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
  • 18.9k
18 votes
Accepted

What European countries have secret voting within the Legislature?

The EU parliament itself seems to have a procedure to use secret ballots in some cases: Normally MEPs vote by show of hands, and the President of the sitting determines the majorities in each case. ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
17 votes

Are there an unusual number of statistical ties in politics, and if so, why?

There does seem to be a lot of close elections, don't there? But this is partially an example of selection bias, partially the nature of politics (and the U.S. system in particular), and partially the ...
TenthJustice's user avatar
  • 8,918
14 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

@hszmv's excellent answer already alludes to this - there is also another major factor, to whit, the guys with big sticks. AKA, the military. Obviously, how the military feels about things has a very ...
user4012's user avatar
  • 92.2k
14 votes
Accepted

How does legislative oversight work in Switzerland when there is technically no "opposition" in parliament?

The fundamental thing to understand is that the Federal Council, as the collective government and the head of state of Switzerland, is collegial and bears collective responsibility similar to the ...
xngtng's user avatar
  • 1,534
13 votes

What would stop a representative democracy becoming a dictatorship?

Given your stated party affiliation, the implication is that you want to know how the US could become a dictatorship under a flawed but idolized executive who is beloved by the masses. First, you ...
hszmv's user avatar
  • 16.1k
13 votes
Accepted

Is there a reason why the U.S. Senate, unlike most upper chambers in liberal democracies, is still co-equal to the lower chamber?

In a certain sense, America's founding fathers were terribly afraid of democracy, and went through great pains to mollify it with an extremely conservative system of government that deemphasized sheer ...
zibadawa timmy's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

What do whips do, exactly?

@joe-c is right they do keep the leadership informed of concerns. They have a number of roles:- Get to know individual legislators and what motivates / interests them Identify bills or points that ...
deep64blue's user avatar
  • 1,408
13 votes
Accepted

How do members of extremely large political bodies 'learn the ropes'?

Usually legislative bodies will have some sort of orientation handbook or process for newly elected members. In your example of New Hampshire this is actually written into legislation - Title 1 ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 106k
13 votes
Accepted

In countries where MPs are allowed to be ministers, how does parliament ensure proportionate party representation in committees?

united-kingdom This is unlikely to be a problem. In the UK Parliament 326 seats are required for a majority. Typically the winning party will have won over 350, often over 400 seats. The legal ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
13 votes

Has any head of state/government or other politician in office performed their duties while legally imprisoned, arrested or paroled/on probation?

Bobby Sands MP https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bobby_Sands While on hunger strike in the notorious "Maze" prison for political prisoners in Northern Ireland, Bobby Sands was elected MP for ...
pjc50's user avatar
  • 22.1k
12 votes
Accepted

Could Boris Johnson theoretically ignore any legislation passed to prevent no-deal brexit?

This would become a rather murky area, without precedents to go by. According to Article 50 (1), each country can decide to leave the EU in accordance with their own constitutional requirements. ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 108k
12 votes
Accepted

How is a party's alignment decided in the NI assembly?

A party’s designation is decided under section 16C, subsection 3 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which states: For the purposes of sections 16A and 16B and this section, a political party to which ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 106k
12 votes

Are there countries that put state-owned enterprises under the ownership of the legislature instead of the executive?

By definition, it is the task of the executive branch to execute the law. State-owned companies are typically considered to be a concrete implementation, i.e. they are one way the government can ...
Hulk's user avatar
  • 861
12 votes
Accepted

How does one measure the detailed understanding of the laws by the legislators who are passing it?

united-kingdom As noted in comments, the detailed line-by-line or word-by-word analysis isn't done on the floor of the legislature, but in committee. It is worth recalling the process for the passage ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
10 votes

Is there a reason why the U.S. Senate, unlike most upper chambers in liberal democracies, is still co-equal to the lower chamber?

The Senate in the USA is an elected body. It can therefore claim a mandate from the electorate. The House of Lords and the Canadian Senate are (mostly) appointed. The members of these houses don't ...
James K's user avatar
  • 119k
9 votes

What European countries have secret voting within the Legislature?

Which other European countries have secret voting by representatives in the national legislature? There are countries where (at least some) votes by representatives in the national legislature are ...
JJJ's user avatar
  • 39.1k

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