Direct Democracy Worldwide

Direct Democracy
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Whereas citizen-initiated mechanisms of direct democracy can spur productive relationships between citizens and political parties, other mechanisms of direct democracy often help leaders bypass other representative institutions, undermining republican checks and balances.

The book also demonstrates that the embrace of direct democracy is costly, may generate uncertainties and inconsistencies, and can be manipulated. Nonetheless, the promise of direct democracy should not be dismissed.

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Direct democracy is much more than a simple, pragmatic second choice when representative democracy seems not to be working as expected. Properly designed, it can empower citizens, breaking through some of the institutionalized barriers to accountability that arise in representative systems. Have doubts regarding this product? A direct democracy procedure that allows citizens to initiate a referendum to repeal an existing law abrogative referendum or a law recently adopted by a legislature rejective referendum.

Felix Wilmschen

A direct democracy procedure that allows citizens to initiate a vote of the electorate on a proposal outlined by those citizens. The proposal may be for a new law, for a constitutional amendment, or to repeal or amend an existing law.

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A vote of the electorate the outcome of which is in legal terms only advisory for a government or appropriate authority. It may take one of three forms: citizens voting on a public policy proposal originated elsewhere referendum ; citizens setting the agenda by originating a public policy proposal themselves initiative ; and citizens requesting and voting on the early termination of the period in office of one of the personnel of government recall. Also known as a direct democracy instrument and a direct democracy mechanism.


A requirement for a proposal to pass which includes both a majority of the total votes cast and a majority of the votes in a specified number of sub-national areas. An organization or body which has been founded for the sole purpose of, and is legally responsible for, managing some or all of the essential or core elements of the conduct of elections, and of direct democracy procedures. A procedure which allows citizens to put forward a proposal.

The scrutiny by a public authority of the constitutionality and legality of a proposal.


Dalton, Russell J. Apply now for a grant to attend the Global Forum in Taichung! On the one hand, diehard opponents of direct democracy argue that representative democracies are inherently inimical to one or another aspect of direct democracy based on arguments such as the risks of the tyranny of the majority. They should be compared to turnout in elections of local councils and mayors, particularly during a period of time when electoral turnout shows a tendency to decrease. In , there was a consultative vote in Liechtenstein triggered by Parliament when the question arose of whether the right to vote should be granted to women. This family has only one combination with empirical correlates, mandatory plebiscites the European literature sometimes refers to these as obligatory referendums. Finally, it is important to point out that this typology is not sensitive to the administrative or political level where MDDs take place, whether local, regional, or national.

A vote of the electorate which is required under circumstances defined in the constitution or in legislation. Also known as an obligatory referendum. Sometimes used as a synonym for a referendum called by the authority, often the executive.

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The complete text of a referendum or initiative proposal. Sometimes called a measure or proposition. A majority requirement demanding that for a proposal to be passed, it must receive a proportion of the vote in excess of 50 per cent plus 1 — for example two-thirds or three-quarters. A direct democracy procedure consisting of a vote of the electorate on an issue of public policy such as a constitutional amendment or a draft law.

David Altman | Wilson Center

Also known as popular consultation or a plebiscite. The act of depositing an initiative for publication and collection of signatures, whereby the legal process of the initiative is officially started. The proponents of a referendum, initiative or recall when they are officially registered in the form of a committee. A vote of the electorate which may veto a law or decree that has been agreed by the legislature but has not yet come into force. Also known as a facultative referendum. They have long experience with these institutions.

Direct Democracy Worldwide

The way they combine and interlock representative and direct democracy is very clever. The dark side is that some groups trying to advance their own agendas can abuse it. Is there any other country where the will of the people is given as high priority as it is in Switzerland?

The Continued Growth of Direct Democracy

PDF | Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct. "David Altman illuminates the world of democracy beyond the election of representatives and offers an empirical analysis of global scope that challenges the.

But there is very pronounced direct democracy in some US states. For example California, but above all in Washington and Oregon.

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As with all institutions, direct democracy can be used correctly or it can be abused. It can lead to unintended consequences or negative external effects. A majority can reach a bad or even abhorrent decision. The process is one thing, the content of the decision another.

How do you regard this prioritising the will of the people above all else? Does it need to be limited? If there is no opposing force to the principle of majority, then it is easily possible for a tyranny of the majority to develop, which can tip over into a dictatorship.

The principle of majority and the sovereignty of the people therefore needs to be controlled. This, too, is achieved by the people, in the form of laws. The rule of law is decisive. Or the death penalty. No way. A recent case involved the ban on minarets. It showed how the will of the majority can stand in opposition to individual rights.