Representative democracy (also indirect democracy) is a variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. All modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy and Germany is a parliamentary republic. It is an element of both the parliamentary system or presidential system of government and is typically used in a lower chamber such as the House of Commons (UK) or Bundestag (Germany), and may be curtailed by constitutional constraints such as an upper chamber. It has been described by some political theorists as Polyarchy. In it the power is in the hands of the elected representatives who are elected by the people in elections. Critics argue that the true function of representative democracy is to legitimize oligarchical rule.

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