Have you ever wondered why, when you vote for a ‘strong’ government and give a landslide majority to a particular party candidate in your constituency, this does not translate into the results and changes in reality that you expect? Why do certain local issues often fall on deaf ears and not get the attention of your elected representatives?
Some may fear that the state is captured by vested interests. But when it comes to elections, most people seem to care less about local or specific policy issues and keep re-electing the same party representatives. Does this ever intrigue you? Does this mean that representative democracy does not work or is overrated?
It does not have to be that way. We need to recognise the limits of representative democracy while empowering ourselves to be more effective advocates and social movement campaigners to bring about meaningful policy change and solutions for society. We should be able to shift the power of the people back to civil society and not be beholden to political actors.
Speaker: Dr Fernando Casal Bertoa, associate professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham, UK. His latest book, Party System Closure: Party Alliances, Government Alternatives and Democracy in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2021) was awarded the AECPA (Spanish Political Science Association) best book prize.
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Organised by Agora Society
Event partners: Aliran and Penang Forum