The Politics of Direct Democracy: Referendums in Global Perspective
Devices such as initiatives, referendums, and other types of direct votes have increased in use throughout the world over the past two decades. Switzerland utilizes referendums as an integral part of its process of government, and Australia and Ireland use them to effect constitutional changes. Initiative and referendum devices are also widely employed in many American states. In Canada, there is an increasing discussion at all levels of government about the use of referendums to foster greater "democratization" of political life.
Considering its growing popularity among many political reformers, the referendum remains much understudied. This book aims to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date survey of direct democratic institutions and devices as they have developed both in the thinking of modern political theorists and in actual political practice in the world’s major democratic nations. Among the cases specifically considered are the California and Swiss models, the two Quebec sovereignty referendums, the 1999 Australian referendum on the monarchy, the 2000 Danish referendum on the Euro, Irish referendums on divorce and abortion, and the votes in Sweden on nuclear energy and European Union membership.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 224 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 8.0in
As referendums become more common in the democratic world, it is essential that the claims of both their advocates and their detractors be subjected to systematic investigation. LeDuc gives an invaluable introduction to the variety of referendums in modern democracies, showing that they are neither the panacea sometimes claimed by their supporters, nor the invitation to abuse sometimes feared by their detractors.
Richard S. Katz, John Hopkins University
This is a very readable introduction to the subject for readers wishing to know more about why and when countries have turned to referendums to settle political issues. The descriptions of the circumstances surrounding selected recent referendums convincingly illustrate the author's point that referendum outcomes are unpredictable, and that referendum campaigns can matter a great deal.
Susan Scarrow, University of Houston
Author InformationLawrence LeDuc is a professor emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Table of contents
Tables and Figures
Introduction: Understanding Referendums
- Referendums in Democratic Societies
- Theoretical, Conceptual, and Procedural Problems
- Referendums on Constitutional Issues
- Canada's 1992 Constitutional Referendum
- The 1993 Russian Constitutional Referendum
- Electoral Reform in New Zealand
- A Bill of Rights and a Republic? The Australian Constitutional Referendums of 1988 and 1999
- Referendums on Treaties and International Agreements
- Spain's 1986 Referendum on NATO
- The 1992 French Referendum on the Maastricht Treaty
- The Nordic Referendums on European Union Membership
- Denmark Says 'NO' Again: the 2000 Referendum on the European Currency
- Referendums on Sovereignty, National Self Determination, Devolution
- The Quebec Sovereignty Referendums
- The 1991 Independence Referendum in Ukraine
- Local Self Government for Scotland and Wales
- Statehood for Puerto Rico?
- Referendums on Public Policy Issues
- Sweden's 1980 Referendum on Nuclear Power
- Ireland's Referendums on Divorce and Abortion
- The "California Model"
- Switzerland: Government By Referendum?
- Citizens, Parties and Voters
- The Present and Future of the Referendum in Democratic Politics
Subjects and Courses