Is Electoral Participation Necessary For Political Participation?

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Democracy is the rule of the people, therefore, for it to be at its full potential, citizens must participate in the decision-making process. However, for a large part of the public, political participation does not go beyond electoral participation. Nonetheless, even the most common form of political engagement, namely voting, is in decline (Whiteley, 2012, pp.37-38). Although electoral participation is not the ultimate measure of political participation, it is one of the most significant and easiest to measure. Besides voting, there are numerous ways of getting involved in politics, such as signing a petition, joining a protest or even contacting an MP. Yet a minority of citizens in Great Britain does exercise their right to influence politicians on policy-making, albeit the number of those who are engaged in politics is generally decreasing. According to Whiteley (2012, p.35) petitions are the second most common form of political participation because of the wide range of their extent – from local to national. However, with a number of websites devoted to signing petitions only, it is now easier to just click on issues that matter to citizens. Regardless of the ease of signing a petition, their efficacy can be argued to be very minimal. Amongst tens thousands of petitions on a government website, Parliament responded to or debated on only a small fraction of them. Often these initiatives are rejected on a basis of being recently discussed in Parliament or duplication of

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