Direct Democracy Worldwide

Direct Democracy Worldwide

David Altman

Language: English

Pages: 266

ISBN: 1107427096

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Challenging the common assumption that models of direct democracy and representative democracy are necessarily at odds, Direct Democracy Worldwide demonstrates how practices of direct and representative democracy interact under different institutional settings and uncovers the conditions that allow them to coexist in a mutually reinforcing manner. 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 in some cases is easily manipulated. Nonetheless, the promise of direct democracy should not be dismissed. 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.

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extension of such rights (Switzerland in 1971 and Liechtenstein in 1984). Also, the delimitation of the demos is critical in terms of sovereignty. For example, some Canadians have voted twice (in 1980 and 1995) regarding the possible independence of their largest province, Quebec. An important debate took place regarding who should compose the demos in such instances (see, e.g., LeDuc 1993; 2003; Nadeau, Martin, and Blais 1999). Was this a matter for all Canadians or just for the Quebecois? In

polities and truly lamentable that they are correlated highly with one another. Instead of congratulating ourselves about their convergence, we should instead be worried about their independence” (2002: 46). Hadenius and Teorell (2005) have found that the evidently robust combinedlevel correlations among different indices are noticeably weakened when computed at unlike levels of the democracy scale or within a critical zone proximate to the dichotomous separating line between democracy and

biased focus on a few MDDs? Evidence shows that they have been used by many regimes, regardless of whether they 76 Direct Democracy Worldwide satisfy the criteria to be considered democratic. Yet the previous section of this chapter pushes us to think otherwise. Thus, I expect that despite the use of MDDs by notably undemocratic governments, in general terms, the more democratic a regime, the higher the occurrence of MDDs, regardless of whether they are top-down or bottom-up. Direct democracy

According to the Chilean Constitution at the time, if no presidential candidate obtained a majority of the popular vote, Congress would choose one of the two candidates with the highest number of votes as the winner. The tradition was that the Congress would vote for the candidate with the highest popular vote, regardless of margin. See also Vergara (1986: 90). 102 Direct Democracy Worldwide massive demonstrations for and against Allende were being staged, and signs of political violence

proper popularly elected authorities without any constraints on the free and fair nature of elections. Thus, I raise the question: What has made Uruguay so remarkable compared with other countries in this rather complex and convoluted region? The adoption of the aforementioned institutions in Uruguay is surprising not because of the country’s uniqueness in the Latin American continent but because of its similarities with other countries in the region (i.e., like the majority of the countries in

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