Direct Democracy (Update)

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Practice and Future Prospects of Direct Democracy in Switzerland

Practice and Future Prospects of Direct Democracy in Switzerland

However, on the basis of different studies it is seen that direct democracy affects not only the policies but also the political environment of the state. The outcomes of any form of government are mixed specifying the case of democracy, which is, preferred more by the masses in today‟s world. Direct democracy has some positive effects such as better public services, sometimes better political stability, improved macroeconomic indicators, increased levels of national productivity, increased support for the government, decreased political agitation, better adherence to civil law and peaceful environment inside the state. There is no doubt that public participation in national politics increases manifold as a result of direct democracy. People, having an active role and involvement in the matters of state, are satisfied and comparatively happier, as the outcomes of the decisions are as per the aspirations of the majority. This keeps the people from forming negative tendencies against the state or the political representatives which can greatly hamper the well being and productivity of any state. On the other hand, the state‟s masses, being content with the political developments I the country, direct their focus on the their individual tasks as active members of the civil society. Nevertheless, the system of governance under direct democracy has few issues as well. This includes the issues of representation of minorities, polarization of the thoughts behind outcomes of referendum, properly educating public over the matters. Despite these shortcomings, such problems do not directly relate with the system of governance but are more correlated to the way issues are considered and handled by the masses and the government representatives. (Maduz, Linda, 2010).

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Direct Democracy and Organized Interests: Examining the Existence of a Participation Gap among Groups

Direct Democracy and Organized Interests: Examining the Existence of a Participation Gap among Groups

Groups in California and Michigan report very high amounts of activity relating to direct democracy. As Table 1 shows, a large majority of groups (85% in California and 75% in Michigan) have provided information to their members regarding a ballot initiative. Similarly, joining a coalition appears to be a strategy many groups use during ballot campaigns (72% in California and 60% in Michigan). Group activity in California far surpasses that of Michigan when it comes to direct democracy. Although this might be expected, the level of involvement among California groups is considerable. A majority of groups in the California sample have formed committees, made financial contributions, and lobbied the state legislature on behalf of a ballot initiative. These are not inconsequential activities. They require energy, expertise, and money. While California groups show substantial involvement with direct democracy, groups in Michigan are also quite active. Nearly a third of groups in the state have sought public endorsements from politicians for a ballot proposition, formed committees to support or oppose an initiative, and have made financial contributions to support or oppose ballot measures. Once again, these activities show a commitment by groups to partake in direct democracy campaigns. Building upon Boehmke’s findings, the data presented here suggest that groups take advantage of the opportunity the existence of direct democracy provides. Thus, the initiative process enables groups to engage in many ballot-related activities (such as providing information and entering into coalitions) that they would not otherwise have.

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Usability and Sociability of Direct Democracy Projects Based on Online Groups

Usability and Sociability of Direct Democracy Projects Based on Online Groups

Abstract: Digital media, in particular social media, are often perceived to be changing political participation. In this discourse, the Internet is seen as a new public sphere with promises of increased democratization and access to political information. The younger generation in partic- ular is supposed to have become more politically active thanks to the Web. In this article, the psychological, sociological and technological factors influencing the deliberative participation in virtual communities are being explored to understand some of the reasons for active or passive participation in e-democracy projects based in online groups. Some examples of successful e- democracy activities in Brazil, Germany and Slovakia are also discussed. Finally, the chances for sustainable development of direct democracy projects with the help of new media are presented.

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In Search of the Lost Constitution: The EU between Direct Democracy and the Permissive Consensus

In Search of the Lost Constitution: The EU between Direct Democracy and the Permissive Consensus

Following the negative results of the French and Dutch referendums on the Constitutional Treaty, the European Council has called for a "period of reflection" before reviewing the situation in 2006. This period may last several years, but steps should be taken now to respond to what has happened. The process by which a Convention would draft a Constitutional Treaty, which would then be ratified in many cases by referendum, was hoped to secure public consent to the basic rules and procedures of the European Union. The referendums highlighted different reasons why this has not worked: lack of information or understanding; contradicting or misplaced perceptions of what is at stake; perhaps an inherent unsuitability of referendums for issues of this scale and complexity. The next steps should aim to allow citizens to give their informed consent to the basic reasons, rules and procedures involved, and then to place their trust in representative democracy and other mechanisms of accountability. A new "permissive consensus" is more appropriate than pursuing "direct democracy" over details in a Union of half a billion people. Three lines of action suggest themselves. The first is to develop effective communications strategies and educational programmes. The second is to go ahead with a few changes foreseen as a demonstration exercise in the logic of European integration and a "model debate" to engage the public: these could be the transformation of the EU's provisions concerning Police and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters, and the role of parliaments in the EU. Finally, the idea should be explored of seeking a reasoned popular mandate by some sort of European Declaration of Principles, adopted simultaneously in each Member State, which would serve as a mandate for detailed negotiations between governments and subsequent monitoring by national parliaments.

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Explaining institutional change : why elected politicians implement direct democracy

Explaining institutional change : why elected politicians implement direct democracy

The third explanation seems more plausible: reformists gained temporary power, then introduced direct democracy so as to give the people a veto in case their successors undid their reforms. This argument fits many cases quite well (see Section 4), and the model here formalizes the intuition. However, there remain problems. The people’s veto was a double edged sword which could be – and was – used against reformers. Only politicians who are likely to lose power will wish to tie their successors’ hands in this way. Further- more, as de Figueiredo (2002) points out, politicians with a long-term perspective can bar- gain with political opponents to preserve each others’ reforms. Finally, constitutional changes in most US states required a 2/3 supermajority in the legislature; and at this time, legislative constituencies were heavily biased towards more conservative rural areas and against the new industrial cities (David and Eisenberg 1961; Hamm and Moncrief 1999). These factors together made it hard to achieve a legislative supermajority for direct democratic reform made only out of extreme reformers who expected to lose office.

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Direct Democracy in the EU –The Myth of a Citizens’ Union  CEPS Paperback, November 2018

Direct Democracy in the EU –The Myth of a Citizens’ Union CEPS Paperback, November 2018

Denmark makes extensive use of direct democracy instruments to determine its political approach to Europe. This is due to a constitutional requirement to hold referendums under certain circumstances and the longstanding practice of involving the public in EU decision-making. Since the 1972 referendum on membership, Denmark has held seven additional referendums on EU-related issues, a number only exceeded by Ireland. All have seen remarkably high turnout. The public debates ahead of referendums have generally been fierce and three polls have resulted in a no-vote: the Maastricht Treaty in 1992; the introduction of the euro in 2000; and the Danish EU-opt out on justice and home affairs in 2015. Denmark’s referendums have had a major impact on EU politics, most notably the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty, which directly inspired the French plebiscite, led to wide-ranging EU opt-outs for Denmark, and started a wave of democratisation efforts at the EU level. Danes strongly support the practice of EU referendums, and the high turnout points to its obvious democratic merits; however, we argue that the answer to the question of how meaningful the Danish EU referendums have been in influencing EU politics is not as clear-cut as these merits would suggest. This is due to the referendum’s concomitant tendency to promote and sustain black and white debates about yes or no to the EU, rather than to serve as a catalyst for nuanced debate about the nature of EU politics.

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Direct Democracy: Chances and Challenges

Direct Democracy: Chances and Challenges

The modern state in the Western tradition is characterized by two principles that stand in tension with each other: democracy and the rule of law. 38 An (extremely extensive) direct democracy can lead to a situation in which the electorate makes arbitrary decisions that unambiguously contradict elementary human and/or civil rights as they are today widely or even generally accepted in the Western world and as are found in the United Nations Decla- ration of Human Rights. Besides the Preventive Custody and Deportation initiatives mentioned above the natu- ralization decisions of 4 December 1997 in Pratteln and of 12 March 2000 in Emmen can also serve as examples. In these decisions, naturalization was denied at the ballot box to people of Turkish or Yugoslav descent, respec- tively, despite clear recommendations of the naturalization commissions. 39 However, this can also happen in a purely representative democracy, as the retention (or reactivation) of the death penalty in the United States shows. On the other hand, as the German example shows, an extremely broadly extended constitutional jurisdic- tion can lead to a situation in which the parliament, even with an overwhelming majority, can no longer make certain decisions such as are made in other states (under the rule of law), even if they in no way contradict gen- erally recognized human rights. This is found, for example, by the degree to which the German Constitutional Court constrains the legislature even in questions of taxation.

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Direct Democracy as a Legislative Act

Direct Democracy as a Legislative Act

My aim in this Article is two-fold: first, to demonstrate that states, courts, and direct democracy proponents have begun to treat direct democracy as a legislative act, and second, to begin to consider some of the practical and legal consequences of the conclusion that direct democracy is a legislative act. As people take political matters into their own hands, they seek to give themselves greater legislative power and to acquire more of the perks and powers of being a (citizen) legislator engaging in legislative acts.

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Reframing the Framework: Direct Democracy, State Constitutional Interpretation, and the Legislative-Administrative Question in Montana

Reframing the Framework: Direct Democracy, State Constitutional Interpretation, and the Legislative-Administrative Question in Montana

The actual beginning of the movement to establish the initiative and referen- dum in Oregon, however, dates from the reading and discussion of a chapter of J.W. Sullivan’s Direct Legislation at a Farmers’ Alliance meeting in Mil- waukie, Oregon, in the fall of 1892. The meeting took place in the home of Seth Lewelling, fruit grower, political activist, and one of the leaders of the Farmers’ Alliance in Clackamas County. The meetings and discussions at the Lewelling home were regular occurrences, and the topics were those under discussion by farmers everywhere: exorbitant railroad rates, the tight money supply, and control of the legislature by the plutocracy. The Lewelling group had a firm sense of grievance, but had yet to discover a method for solving the problems plaguing U.S. society. Sullivan’s book offered them a means to bring about change. By using the initiative and referendum as tools of democ- racy, citizens could regain the legislative and fiscal powers they had delegated to legislative bodies that either seemed committed to avoiding controversial issues or were actually determine to abuse the public trust. Adoption of the initiative and referendum would give hope to those who had given up on reform on the political economy. 209

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The Timeliness of Direct Democracy in the EU—The Example of Nuclear Energy in the EU and the Institutionalisation of the European Citizens’ Initiative in the Lisbon Treaty

The Timeliness of Direct Democracy in the EU—The Example of Nuclear Energy in the EU and the Institutionalisation of the European Citizens’ Initiative in the Lisbon Treaty

The catastrophic nuclear incident in Fukushima in March 2011 has shocked Europe. Its impact was particularly strong in Germany with its decade-old anti-nuclear movements. Political and technological re-orientations were initiated in that country without considering at any depth the potential of European law and politics to control or obstruct such moves. Somewhat paradoxically, the Euratom Treaty of 1957 and also the new Treaty of Lisbon confirm the right of each Member State to decide upon the use of nuclear energy autonomously. This means that European citizens remain exposed to the risks of that technology until the highly unlikely consent of all Member States to abstain from its further use. That constellation poses a dilemma for democracy because it implies that each political decision taken within parts of the Union exerts external pan-European effects. The article considers the chances for an inclusive democratic process which would lead to a legitimated European decision. It examines the possibilities offered by the new European Citi- zens Initiative which the Lisbon Treaty has institutionalized in its Article 12 and concludes that this instrument could indeed be used to instigate a European-wide debate which may eventually lead to pertinent changes in the Treaties.

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The confidence vote and technical age of Mass Communication in Direct Democracy

The confidence vote and technical age of Mass Communication in Direct Democracy

Strictly speaking, this direct democratic model is composed of two related aspects the conferring of formal responsibility for public judgments on the public the various decision- making instances present in the running of" any state. Political communication with the public that will allow appropriate and reasonable judgments, or decisions; to be made. The first aspect is the actual transfer of responsibility from the elected representatives to the public. This is the empowerment principle. The idea being that, when responsibility is conferred it is for the most part, accepted and in will he embraced by the electorate. There are many assumptions about the public's political behavior that follow from this empowerment that will be posited in greater detail later in the paper. Suffice it to say, that when people are given authority to carry out an important (and deemed precious) responsibility, they will rise to the occasion.

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New Directions for Empirical Studies of Direct Democracy

New Directions for Empirical Studies of Direct Democracy

To briefly review, I have argued thus far that it is difficult to study the primary/policy effects of the ballot initiative because many of the most controversial approved initiatives are litigated, invalidated, defunded, or face implementation challenges. This should put a spotlight on how the initiative affects the democratic process and citizens. In other words, secondary effects should be the focus of our studies of the ballot initiative because checks still exist and are frequently used to challenge policy outcomes. But the present state of empirical research shows that the participatory democracy/civic engagement frame by which most of these studies are motivated has relatively weak empirical support.

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The Revitalization of the Community based Management of Acute Malnutrition Program in Haiti

The Revitalization of the Community based Management of Acute Malnutrition Program in Haiti

Several explanations have been advanced to explain why despite this lack of observable campaign initiatives directly related to expenditure and revenue categories, initiative and non- initiative states have different fiscal outcomes. One of the very few studies that empirically attempt some explanation is Randolph (2010), estimating the impact of direct democracy on the number of bills enacted by the state legislature, finding that initiative states on average pass more legislations than non-initiative states. Randolph (2010) therefore concludes that the initiative measure affects policy outcomes trough legislative production. Cognizant of the fact that their constituents have the power to pass legislation, lawmakers in initiative states act preemptively by enacting more bills than lawmakers in non-initiative states. This line of argument provides empirical support to the notion of the threat effect of the initiative process. Similarly, Gerber (1996) proposes a game theoretical model with three players: an incumbent politician, a

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Democratic cultural policy : democratic forms and policy consequences

Democratic cultural policy : democratic forms and policy consequences

of empirical data. Unfortunately there is relatively little evidence to work from. Frey & Pommerehne (1995) (updated in Frey, 2003) provide some indicative data from Switzerland which shows that between 1950-2001 referenda on cultural matters at the municipal level had much the same turn-out and similar levels of success as referenda on all other matters at the same level, even if support for increased cultural expenditure was 12% lower than for other matters (Frey, 2003, 129-30). The fear that voters will exercise their democratic choice on the basis of ignorance or incompetence was argued to be invalid in the cases examined on the basis that before the referenda were held there was a period of discussion and debate (Frey, 2003, 137-8) that allowed for an education of the electorate about the issues involved. While this may indicate that the open-ness of the democratic system allowed for the overcoming of lowest common denominator fears, the evidence that Frey & Pommerehne (1995, 58-62; Frey, 2003, 132-35) present from one referendum in Basle actually indicates that a range of socio-economic variables accounted for 85% of the difference between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ voting, implying that education and debate have, at best, a marginal effect. The sociological literature concerning culture and the arts (see Alexander, 2003, 228-35; Bennett et al, 2009, for example), has already identified a clear social basis for the consumption of art so the referenda evidence may simply be re-phrasing this rather than identifying anything particularly novel about the impact of direct democracy on the production of cultural policies.

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Choosing the optimal public choice scenario through a democratic educational procedure: A history from ancient Athens

Choosing the optimal public choice scenario through a democratic educational procedure: A history from ancient Athens

Abstract: In the present essay we argue that the Athenians were well aware that for a smooth functioning of democracy the citizens, who voted in the Assembly under direct democracy procedures, had to be educated. We argue that they had to find good solutions in the decision process of the Assembly. We analyse a public choice issue: the case of shipbuilding of the Athenian fleet that played a crucial defeat of the Persians in 480 BCE. The Athenians actually had to decide on a public choice set issue: sacrifice personal consumption in favour of the public good defence. We argue that the Athenians finally reached to the optimal choice, after having received at first undergone a process of democratic education.

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Citizen Involvement in EU Policies: Impossible Dream or Work in Progress? EIPAscope 01/2011

Citizen Involvement in EU Policies: Impossible Dream or Work in Progress? EIPAscope 01/2011

It is not merely a question of democratic detail but an issue of constitutional concern to ask whether one should aim at the simplest possible formal structures of representation and accountability at EU level, or whether one should (also) try to deepen forms of citizen and stakeholder participation in a broader perspective of ‘European Governance’? What kind of EU polity do people in Member States want to emerge at the end of all this? The new ‘Provisions on Democratic Principles’ proclaim that ‘The functioning of the Union shall be founded on representative democracy’: direct representation in the European Parliament, and indirectly through the European Council and Council. The right of every citizen ‘to participate in the democratic life of the Union’ is listed in third place. This does not seem to suggest direct democracy, however, so much as the active involvement of citizens in multi-level representative democracy – indeed the fourth paragraph continues by stressing that ‘Political parties at European level contribute to forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of citizens of the Union.’

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School Direct bulletin : September 2014

School Direct bulletin : September 2014

This issue includes how to make sure potential recruits can see your information when they are choosing where to apply; which marketing and recruitment support tools to use to complement your recruitment strategy; and the new Your Future | Their Future marketing campaign. There is also important information for those of you with trainees about to start on their 2014 to 2015 School Direct training programmes.

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Trade Openness and Democracy: The Case of Gabon

Trade Openness and Democracy: The Case of Gabon

The first one consists in verifying that the series lend themselves to a nonli- near estimation based on the analysis of descriptive statistics (Kurtosis and Skewness tests, followed by a graphical analysis). If the elements of descriptive statistics confirm the presence of asymmetries, then it becomes possible to esti- mate the parameters of the model by the least squares nonlinear (or NLS). The second relates to the estimation of the polynomial by the nonlinear least squares method in order to integrate the nonlinearity of the effects of democracy on the degree of trade openness due to the imperfect competition context characteriz- ing international trade. The model thus estimated is globally validated by the correlation coefficient (R 2 ).

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British Prime Ministers and Democracy: From Disraeli to Blair

British Prime Ministers and Democracy: From Disraeli to Blair

Thatcher had a less consensual style than Baldwin, but she shared his understanding of the power of rhetoric. To a greater extent than any leader since Churchill, Thatcher spoke a language of national crisis, in which democracy itself was at risk. That was only plausible because so many others also thought democracy in peril in the 1970s; but the threat was not necessarily understood in Thatcherite terms. The Labour party presented the Conservatives as a menace to democracy, projecting the ‘Social Contract’ as a reassertion of ‘the democratic process’ against the ‘authoritarian and bureaucratic’ methods of their opponents. In books like Arguments for Democracy, Tony Benn called for democratic control over industry, while the National Union of Miners presented itself as a democratic opposition to Thatcher. For most of Thatcher’s time in Parliament, the prevailing vision of democracy had been social democratic, presenting nationalised industries, the welfare state and free collective bargaining as part of the constitutional architecture of the British state.

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Geography, Institutions and Human Development: A Cross Country Investigation Using Bayesian Model Averaging

Geography, Institutions and Human Development: A Cross Country Investigation Using Bayesian Model Averaging

This paper examines the role of long standing institutions – identified through geography, disease ecology, colonial legacy, and some direct measures of political and economic governance – on human development and its non income components across countries. The study employs a novel econometric technique called the Bayesian Model Averaging that allows us to select the relevant predictors by experimenting with a host of competing sets of variables. It constructs estimates as weighted average of OLS estimates for every possible combination of included variables. This is particularly useful in situations when there is model uncertainty and theory provides only a weak guidance on the selection of appropriate predictors. Of the 25 variables that we tried, three stand out in terms of their degree of importance and their robustness across various specifications. These include malaria ecology, KKZ index of good governance and fertility rate. Our finding on the dominant and robust role of malaria ecology in explaining differences in human development across countries, even in the presence of variables that directly and indirectly measure the quality of institutions, is extremely fascinating. It shows that malaria ecology has a direct negative impact on human development and this effect appears to be over and above its effect via institutions. Some of the other measures of climate and geography as well as those of colonial legacy are important as long as we do not control for some direct measures of the performance of political and economic institutions such as the KKZ index of good governance and democracy score. Once we control for these and other conditioning variables such as public spending on health and education; fertility rates; and measures of health infrastructure, the importance of geography and colonial legacy disappears.

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