Substantive democracy is a form of democracy in which the outcome of elections is representative of the people. In other words, substantive democracy is a form of democracy that functions in the interest of the governed. Although a country may allow all citizens of age to vote, this characteristic does not necessarily qualify it as a substantive democracy.
In a substantive democracy, the general population plays a real role in carrying out its political affairs, i.e., the state is not merely set up as a democracy but it functions as one as well. This type of democracy can also be referred to as a functional democracy. There is no good example of an objectively substantive democracy.
The opposite of a substantive democracy is a procedural democracy, which is where the relevant forms of democracy exist but are not actually managed democratically.
- The Critique of the State A Twenty-First Century Perspective István Mészáros Monthly Review Volume 67, Issue 04 (September)