From the latin participatĭo, participation is the action and the effect of participating (have or take part in something, assume a portion of a task/action). The term may be used to refer to the ability of the citizens to contribute to the political decisions of a country or a region.
In this sense, one can speak of citizen participation by means of elections, referenda or plebiscites. The most usual method of participation is the suffrage by which people choose, on a time given, which should represent the people. It's the representative democracy (it's the people who decide through voting who will be members of the Executive power and the legislative power).
In addition to voter turnout, citizen participation in politics can take place through other mechanisms, such as the non-governmental action or public events. For example: «We need the participation of people to block this authoritarian government project», «the plebiscite and benefited from a massive participation of the city.
Participation is also the part that a person or group holds capital of a company: 'the Russian Tycoon comes to acquire a minority stake in the telecommunications group', "France Telecom decided to sell the interest she had in the Italian operator due to the increment of its liabilities", "a young Englishman has invested his savings in the purchase of a participation in the club of his heart".
Participation is, in addition, that payment is made to share or be paid jointly with others: "it's soon Carine's birthday. Do you want to participate in the gift that we are going to offer him? ».