Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are some of the countries that utilize representative democracies either wholly or in part. A representative democracy is a system of government in which representatives are elected to serve terms in office as representatives of their constituents.
Representative democracies are typically implemented in countries where the population size is prohibitive to a direct democracy, which is a system of government in which every citizen represents himself in government decisions. Although the United States is not wholly a representative democracy, federal elected officials, such as Congress and the president, are examples of how the United States incorporates representative democracy into its government system.
Constitutions usually regulate the power of elected individuals in representative democracies, and elections are typically held among parties with competing platforms. Representative democracies usually have some sort of court system in place to insure that elected representatives do not abuse their power or attempt to make laws in areas when they are not granted the right to do so by their constitution. In order for representative democracies to be effective, they must have the correct ratio of elected officials to citizens. Some critics of the U.S. model of representative democracy say that citizens are not properly represented.