Direct democracy

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A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland. Landsgemeinde Glarus 2006.jpg
A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland.

Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are representative democracies. The theory and practice of direct democracy and participation as its common characteristic was the core of work of many theorists, philosophers and politicians, among whom the most important are Jean Jacques Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, G.D.H. Cole. [1]

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation. Who people are and how authority is shared among them are core issues for democratic development and constitution. Some cornerstones of these issues are freedom of assembly and speech, inclusiveness and equality, membership, consent, voting, right to life and minority rights.

Representative democracy is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary semi-presidential republic, and the United States is a federal presidential republic.

John Stuart Mill British philosopher and political economist

John Stuart Mill, usually cited as J. S. Mill, was a British philosopher, political economist, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control.

Contents

Overview

In a representative democracy people vote for representatives who then enact policy initiatives. [2] In direct democracy, people decide on policies without any intermediary. Depending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials, and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.

In governance, sortition is the selection of political officials as a random sample from a larger pool of candidates, a system intended to ensure that all competent and interested parties have an equal chance of holding public office. It also minimizes factionalism, since there would be no point making promises to win over key constituencies if one was to be chosen by lot, while elections, by contrast, foster it. In ancient Athenian democracy, sortition was the traditional and primary method for appointing political officials, and its use was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy.

Law System of rules and guidelines, generally backed by governmental authority

Law is a system of rules that are created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. It has been defined both as "the science of justice" and "the art of justice". Law regulates and ensures that individuals or a community adhere to the will of the state. State-enforced laws can be made by a collective legislature or by a single legislator, resulting in statutes, by the executive through decrees and regulations, or established by judges through precedent, normally in common law jurisdictions. Private individuals can create legally binding contracts, including arbitration agreements that may elect to accept alternative arbitration to the normal court process. The formation of laws themselves may be influenced by a constitution, written or tacit, and the rights encoded therein. The law shapes politics, economics, history and society in various ways and serves as a mediator of relations between people.

Trial coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal

In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court. The tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.

Semi-direct democracies, in which representatives administer day-to-day governance, but the citizens remain the sovereign, allow for three forms of popular action: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall. The first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation. [3] As of 2019, thirty countries allowed for referendums initiated by the population on the national level [4]

A referendum is a direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal, it can be nationwide or local forms. This may result in the adoption of a new policy or specific law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.

Initiative Means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote

In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a government to choose to either enact a law or hold a public vote in parliament in what is called indirect initiative, or under direct initiative, the proposition is immediately put to a plebiscite or referendum, in what is called a Popular initiated Referendum or citizen-initiated referendum.

A recall election is a procedure by which, in certain polities, voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before that official's term has ended. Recalls, which are initiated when sufficient voters sign a petition, have a history dating back to ancient Athenian democracy and feature in several current constitutions. In indirect or representative democracy, people's representatives are elected and these representatives rule for a specific period of time. However, where the facility to recall exists, should any representative come to be perceived as not properly discharging their responsibilities, then they can be called back with the written request of specific number or proportion of voters.

A compulsory referendum subjects the legislation drafted by political elites to a binding popular vote. This is the most common form of direct legislation. A popular referendum empowers citizens to make a petition that calls existing legislation to a vote by the citizens. Institutions specify the timeframe for a valid petition and the number of signatures required, and may require signatures from diverse communities to protect minority interests. [3] This form of direct democracy effectively grants the voting public a veto on laws adopted by the elected legislature, as in Switzerland. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Veto legal power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation

A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a Presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to the Parliament for reconsideration.

Switzerland Federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi), and land area of 39,997 km2 (15,443 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

A citizen-initiated referendum (also called an initiative) empowers members of the general public to propose, by petition, specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government and, as with other referendums, the vote may be binding or simply advisory. Initiatives may be direct or indirect: with the direct initiative, a successful proposition is placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote (as exemplified by California's system). [3] With an indirect initiative, a successful proposition is first presented to the legislature for their consideration; however, if no acceptable action is taken after a designated period of time, the proposition moves to direct popular vote. Consitiutional amendments in Switzerland go through such a form of indirect initiative. [3]

Swiss Federal Constitution Constitution of the Swiss Confederation

The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of 18 April 1999 is the third and current federal constitution of Switzerland. It establishes the Swiss Confederation as a federal republic of 26 cantons (states). The document contains a catalogue of individual and popular rights, delineates the responsibilities of the cantons and the Confederation and establishes the federal authorities of government.

A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design.

A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design. The term ‵deliberative referendum′ stems from deliberative democracy, which emphasises that ″the legitimacy of decisions can be increased if ... decisions are preceded by authentic deliberation.″ Deliberative design features can promote public deliberation prior to and during the referendum vote to increase its actual and perceived legitimacy. Deliberative referendums encourage open-minded and informed reasoning, rather than rigid ″pre-formed opinions.″ ″[A]fter deliberations, citizens routinely alter their preferences″.

Power of recall gives the public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their designated standard term of office. [9]

History

The earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, although it was not an inclusive democracy: it excluded women, foreigners, and slaves. The main bodies in the Athenian democracy were the assembly, composed of male citizens; the boulê, composed of 500 citizens; and the law courts, composed of a massive number of jurors chosen by lot, with no judges. There were only about 30,000 male citizens, but several thousand of them were politically active in each year, and many of them quite regularly for years on end. The Athenian democracy was direct not only in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but also in the sense that the people through the assembly, boulê, and law courts controlled the entire political process, and a large proportion of citizens were involved constantly in public affairs. [10] Most modern democracies, being representative, not direct, do not resemble the Athenian system.

Also relevant to the history of direct democracy is the history of Ancient Rome, specifically the Roman Republic, traditionally beginning around 509 BC. [11] Rome displayed many aspects of democracy, both direct and indirect, from the era of Roman monarchy all the way to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the Senate, formed in the first days of the city, lasted through the Kingdom, Republic, and Empire, and even continued after the decline of Western Rome; and its structure and regulations continue to influence legislative bodies worldwide. As to direct democracy, the ancient Roman Republic had a system of citizen lawmaking, or citizen formulation and passage of law, and a citizen veto of legislature-made law. Many historians mark the end of the Republic with the passage of a law named the Lex Titia , 27 November 43 BC, which eliminated many oversight provisions. [11]

Modern-era citizen-lawmaking occurs in the cantons of Switzerland from the 13th century. In 1847 the Swiss added the "statute referendum" to their national constitution. They soon discovered that merely having the power to veto Parliament's laws was not enough. In 1891 they added the "constitutional amendment initiative". Swiss politics since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience-base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative. [12] In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendums. The populace has proven itself conservative, approving only about 10% of these initiatives; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government. (See "Direct democracy in Switzerland" below.) [5] [6] [7] [8]

Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in the article on e-democracy and below under the heading Electronic direct democracy. More concisely, the concept of open-source governance applies principles of the free-software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please. [13]

Examples

Early Athens

Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 600 BC. Athens was one of the very first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model, none were as powerful, stable, or well-documented as that of Athens. In the direct democracy of Athens, the citizens did not nominate representatives to vote on legislation and executive bills on their behalf (as in the United States) but instead voted as individuals. The public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire of the comic poets in the theatres. [14]

Solon (694 BC), Cleisthenes (608–607 BCE), and Ephialtes (562 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institution, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement. It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, the brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom.

The greatest and longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles; after his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolution towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts are of this 4th-century modification rather than of the Periclean system. It was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but the extent to which they were a real democracy is debatable. [15]

Switzerland

In Switzerland, with no need to register, every citizen receives the ballot papers and information brochure for each vote and election, and can return it by post. Switzerland has various directly democratic instruments; votes are organised about four times a year. Here, the papers received by every Berne's citizen in November 2008 about five national, two cantonal, four municipal referendums, and two elections (government and parliament of the City of Berne) of 23 competing parties to take care of at the same time. Swiss voting material.jpg
In Switzerland, with no need to register, every citizen receives the ballot papers and information brochure for each vote and election, and can return it by post. Switzerland has various directly democratic instruments; votes are organised about four times a year. Here, the papers received by every Berne's citizen in November 2008 about five national, two cantonal, four municipal referendums, and two elections (government and parliament of the City of Berne) of 23 competing parties to take care of at the same time.

The pure form of direct democracy exists only in the Swiss cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus. [16] The Swiss Confederation is a semi-direct democracy (representative democracy with strong instruments of direct democracy). [16] The nature of direct democracy in Switzerland is fundamentally complemented by its federal governmental structures (in German also called the Subsidiaritätsprinzip). [5] [6] [7] [8]

Most western countries have representative systems. [16] Switzerland is a rare example of a country with instruments of direct democracy (at the levels of the municipalities, cantons, and federal state). Citizens have more power than in a representative democracy. On any political level citizens can propose changes to the constitution (popular initiative), or ask for an optional referendum to be held on any law voted by the federal, cantonal parliament and/or municipal legislative body. [17]

The list for mandatory or optional referendums on each political level are generally much longer in Switzerland than in any other country; for example any amendment to the constitution must automatically be voted on by the Swiss electorate and cantons, on cantonal/communal levels often any financial decision of a certain substantial amount decreed by legislative and/or executive bodies as well. [17]

Swiss citizens vote regularly on any kind of issue on every political level, such as financial approvals of a school house or the building of a new street, or the change of the policy regarding sexual work, or on constitutional changes, or on the foreign policy of Switzerland, four times a year. [18] Between January 1995 and June 2005, Swiss citizens voted 31 times, on 103 federal questions besides many more cantonal and municipal questions. [19] During the same period, French citizens participated in only two referendums. [16]

In Switzerland, simple majorities are sufficient at the municipal and cantonal level, but at the federal level double majorities are required on constitutional issues. [12]

A double majority requires approval by a majority of individuals voting, and also by a majority of cantons. Thus, in Switzerland a citizen-proposed amendment to the federal constitution (i.e. popular initiative) cannot be passed at the federal level if a majority of the people approve but a majority of the cantons disapprove. [12] For referendums or propositions in general terms (like the principle of a general revision of the Constitution), a majority of those voting is sufficient (Swiss Constitution, 2005).

In 1890, when the provisions for Swiss national citizen lawmaking were being debated by civil society and government, the Swiss adopted the idea of double majorities from the United States Congress, in which House votes were to represent the people and Senate votes were to represent the states. [12] According to its supporters, this "legitimacy-rich" approach to national citizen lawmaking has been very successful. Kris Kobach claims that Switzerland has had tandem successes both socially and economically which are matched by only a few other nations. Kobach states at the end of his book, "Too often, observers deem Switzerland an oddity among political systems. It is more appropriate to regard it as a pioneer." Finally, the Swiss political system, including its direct democratic devices in a multi-level governance context, becomes increasingly interesting for scholars of European Union integration. [20]

Paris Commune

In 1871 after the establishment of the Paris Commune, the Parisians established a decentralized direct system of government with appointed organizers to make sense of the largely spontaneous uprising. While it still refused women the right to vote, they were heavily involved in the consensus before votes took place. Everything from the military to when meetings took place was democratized, and such decentralization and aforementioned democratization led many members of the First Internationale to regard the Paris Commune as a stateless society.

Due to the short lifespan of the Commune, only one citywide election was held and the structures necessary to facilitate future organized elections on large scales was largely nonexistent. However, the influence of direct democratization in the Paris Commune is not to be understated.

United States

In the New England region of the United States, towns in states such as Vermont decide local affairs through the direct democratic process of the town meeting. [21] This is the oldest form of direct democracy in the United States, and predates the founding of the country by at least a century.

Direct democracy was not what the framers of the United States Constitution envisioned for the nation. They saw a danger in tyranny of the majority. As a result, they advocated a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional republic over a direct democracy. For example, James Madison, in Federalist No. 10, advocates a constitutional republic over direct democracy precisely to protect the individual from the will of the majority. He says,

Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

[...]

[A] pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. [22]

John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, said: "Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state – it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage." Alexander Hamilton said, "That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity." [23]

Despite the framers' intentions in the beginning of the republic, ballot measures and their corresponding referendums have been widely used at the state and sub-state level. There is much state and federal case law, from the early 1900s to the 1990s, that protects the people's right to each of these direct democracy governance components (Magleby, 1984, and Zimmerman, 1999). The first United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of the citizen lawmaking was in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 in 1912 (Zimmerman, December 1999). President Theodore Roosevelt, in his "Charter of Democracy" speech to the 1912 Ohio constitutional convention, stated: "I believe in the Initiative and Referendum, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes misrepresentative." [24]

In various states, referendums through which the people rule include:

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have a recall function for state officials. Additional states have recall functions for local jurisdictions. Some states require specific grounds for a recall petition campaign. [25]

Zapatistas

Territories held by the Zapatistas in Mexico also employ elements of direct democracy. At a local level, people attend a general assembly of around 300 families where anyone over the age of 12 can participate in decision-making, these assemblies strive to reach a consensus but are willing to fall back to a majority vote. Each community has 3 main administrative structures: (1) the commissariat, in charge of day-to day administration; (2) the council for land control, which deals with forestry and disputes with neighboring communities; and (3) the agencia, a community police agency. The communities form a federation with other communities to create an autonomous municipalities, which form further federations with other municipalities to create a region. The Zapatistas are composed of five regions, in total having a population of around 300,000 people.

Rojava

In Syrian Kurdistan, in the cantons of Rojava, a new model of polity is exercised by the Kurdish freedom movement, that of Democratic confederalism. This model has been developed by Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, on the basis of the Kurdish revolutionary experience and traditions, and of the theory of Communalism developed by Murray Bookchin. [27] At the opposite of the Nation-State model of sovereignty, Democratic confederalism rests on the principle of radical self-government, where political decisions are taken in popular assemblies at the level of the commune, which will send delegates to the confederate level of the district and the canton. [28] This bottom-up political structure coexists with the democratic self-administration, as organized in the Charter of the Social Contract adopted by the cantons of Rojava in 2014. These two structures constitute a situation characterized as one of dual power by David Graeber, though a peculiar one as they are both formed by the same movement. [29]

Compared to other experiences categorized as ones of direct democracy such as OWS, the Rojava experiment presents only several elements of direct democracy, namely the organization of the self-governing communes in popular assemblies where everybody can participate, the confederation of these communes through imperative and recallable mandates, the rotation of charges (often biannually) and the absence of a centralized power. [30] In theory, Öcalan describes the principle of Democratic Confederalism as follows: "In contrast to a centralist and bureaucratic understanding of administration and exercise of power confederalism poses a type of political self-administration where all groups of the society and all cultural identities can express themselves in local meetings, general conventions and councils.". [31] In practice, Rojava is organized on a system of "Four Level Councils": the Commune, the Neighborhood, the District, and the People's Council of West Kurdistan. Each level nominates delegates for the next level with imperative mandates as well as recallable mandates. [30]

As democratic autonomy rests on the equal political engagement of members of the community, the Kurdish women's movement aims at changing the historical exclusion of women from the public sphere as well as at educating women, creating space where they can participate and produce their own decisions. [32] This commitment to women's liberation is instantiated in the principle of dual leadership and 40 percent quota and in the many political spaces created for women's education as well as their political and economic emancipation. [33] Women are therefore fully included in the project of direct democracy. In order to contribute to their political emancipation, Kurdish women created a new science, Jineologî or "women's science", in order to give to women access to knowledge, the very foundation of power in society. [34] Moreover, political emancipation is not seen as sufficient to ensure women's liberation if it does not rest on the possibility of women for self-defense. Therefore, Kurdish women created the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) which forms, along with the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish armed forces.

The Rojava cantons are governed through a combination of district and civil councils. District councils consist of 300 members as well as two elected co-presidents- one man and one woman. District councils decide and carry out administrative and economic duties such as garbage collection, land distribution and cooperative enterprises. [35] `

Democratic reform trilemma

Democratic theorists have identified a trilemma due to the presence of three desirable characteristics of an ideal system of direct democracy, which are challenging to deliver all at once. These three characteristics are participation – widespread participation in the decision making process by the people affected; deliberation – a rational discussion where all major points of view are weighted according to evidence; and equality – all members of the population on whose behalf decisions are taken have an equal chance of having their views taken into account. Empirical evidence from dozens of studies suggests deliberation leads to better decision making. [36] [37] [38] The most popularly disputed form of direct popular participation is the referendum on constitutional matters. [39]

For the system to respect the principle of political equality, either everyone needs to be involved or there needs to be a representative random sample of people chosen to take part in the discussion. In the definition used by scholars such as James Fishkin, deliberative democracy is a form of direct democracy which satisfies the requirement for deliberation and equality but does not make provision to involve everyone who wants to be included in the discussion. Participatory democracy, by Fishkin's definition, allows inclusive participation and deliberation, but at a cost of sacrificing equality, because if widespread participation is allowed, sufficient resources rarely will be available to compensate people who sacrifice their time to participate in the deliberation. Therefore, participants tend to be those with a strong interest in the issue to be decided and often will not therefore be representative of the overall population. [40] Fishkin instead argues that random sampling should be used to select a small, but still representative, number of people from the general public. [9] [36]

Fishkin concedes it is possible to imagine a system that transcends the trilemma, but it would require very radical reforms if such a system were to be integrated into mainstream politics.

Electronic direct democracy

Relation to other movements

Practicing direct democracy - voting on Nuit Debout, Place de la Republique, Paris Nuit Debout - Place Commune, 2016.05.14 (2).jpg
Practicing direct democracy – voting on Nuit Debout, Place de la République, Paris

Anarchists have advocated forms of direct democracy as an alternative to the centralized state and capitalism; however, others (such as individualist anarchists) have criticized direct democracy and democracy in general for ignoring the rights of the minority, and instead have advocated a form of consensus decision-making. Libertarian Marxists, however, fully support direct democracy in the form of the proletarian republic and see majority rule and citizen participation as virtues. Libertarian socialists such as anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists advocate direct democracy. The Young Communist League USA in particular refers to representative democracy as "bourgeois democracy", implying that they see direct democracy as "true democracy". [41]

In schools

Democratic schools modeled on Summerhill School resolve conflicts and make school policy decisions through full school meetings in which the votes of students and staff are weighted equally. [42]

Contemporary movements

See also

Related Research Articles

Switzerland is a semi-direct democratic federal republic. The federal legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Federal Assembly, the National Council and the Council of States. The Federal Council holds the executive power and is composed of seven power-sharing Federal Councillors elected by the Federal Assembly. The judicial branch is headed by the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, whose judges are elected by the Federal Assembly.

Semi-direct democracy is a type of democracy that combines the mechanisms of direct democracy and representative government. In semi-direct democracy, representatives administer daily governance, but citizens keep the sovereignty, being able to control their governments and laws through different forms of popular action: binding referendum, popular initiative, revocation of mandate, and public consultations. The first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation.

Deliberative democracy or discursive democracy is a form of democracy in which deliberation is central to decision-making. It adopts elements of both consensus decision-making and majority rule. Deliberative democracy differs from traditional democratic theory in that authentic deliberation, not mere voting, is the primary source of legitimacy for the law.

Ballot measure

A ballot measure is a piece of proposed legislation to be approved or rejected by eligible voters. Ballot measures are also known as "propositions" or simply "questions".

In the politics of the United States, the process of initiatives and referendums allow citizens of many U.S. states to place new legislation on a popular ballot, or to place legislation that has recently been passed by a legislature on a ballot for a popular vote. Initiatives and referendums, along with recall elections and popular primary elections, are signature reforms of the Progressive Era; they are written into several state constitutions, particularly in the West.

Voting in Switzerland is the process by which Swiss citizens make decisions about governance and elect officials. The polling stations are opened on Saturdays and Sunday mornings but most people vote by post in advance. At noon on Sunday, voting ends and the results are usually known during the afternoon.

Ten referendums were held in Switzerland during 2008. The first two were held on 24 February on business tax reform and aircraft noise. A further three were held on 1 June on public information campaigns, naturalisation and health reform. The final five were held on 30 November on legalising cannabis, making the pension age flexible, restricting the right of appeal of associations against construction projects, amending the constitutional article on narcotics and eliminating the statute of limitations with respect to pornographic crimes against children.

Popular referendum referendum to repeal a new or existing law

A popular referendum is a type of a referendum that provides a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote (plebiscite) on an existing statute, constitutional amendment, charter amendment or ordinance, or, in its minimal form, to simply oblige the executive or legislative bodies to consider the subject by submitting it to the order of the day. It is a form of direct democracy.

Types of democracy refers to

pluralism of governing structures such as governments and other constructs like workplaces, families, community associations, and so forth. Types of democracy can cluster around values. For example, some like direct democracy, electronic democracy, participatory democracy, real democracy, deliberative democracy, and pure democracy strive to allow people to participate equally and directly in protest, discussion, decision-making, or other acts of politics. Different types of democracy - like representative democracy - strive for indirect participation as this procedural approach to collective self-governance is still widely considered the only means for the more or less stable democratic functioning of mass societies. Types of democracy can be found across time, space, and language. In the English language the noun "democracy" has been modified by 2,234 adjectives. These adjectival pairings, like atomic democracy or Zulu democracy, act as signal words that point not only to specific meanings of democracy but to groups, or families, of meaning as well.

The history of direct democracy amongst non-Native Americans in the United States dates from the 1630s in the New England Colonies. Many New England towns still carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings.

Popular initiative (Switzerland) law suggested by the people of Switzerland

A popular initiative allows the people to suggest law in Switzerland on a federal, cantonal and municipal level. On a federal and cantonal level it suggests changing the respective constitution. Besides referendum and, in some cantons, recall, it is a means of direct democracy in Switzerland.

Mandatory referendum

The mandatory referendum is an instrument of direct democracy in Switzerland. It is a mechanism that holds mandatory votation of some decisions of the federal, cantonal, or municipal parliament and/or government, such as modifications of the Constitution or adhesion to supranational communities on a federal or cantonal level, or for example substantial financial decisions decreed by cantonal and/or communal executive and/or legislative bodies.

Optional referendum

The optional referendum is an instrument of direct democracy in Switzerland. It allows citizens to oppose laws voted by the federal parliament, cantonal and/or municipal decrees by legislative and/or executive bodies.

A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This article summarises referendum laws and practice in various countries.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to democracy.

Citizens initiative referendum (France) new right proposition

The Référendum d'initiative Citoyenne is the name given to the proposal for a constitutional amendment in France to permit consultation of the citizenry by referendum concerning the proposition or abrogation of laws, the revocation of politicians' mandates, and constitutional amendment.

References

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  3. 1 2 3 4 Smith, Graham (2009). Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation (Theories of Institutional Design). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112.
  4. Popular or citizens initiative: Legal Designs
  5. 1 2 3 Hirschbühl (2011a).
  6. 1 2 3 Hirschbühl (2011b).
  7. 1 2 3 Hirschbühl (2011c).
  8. 1 2 3 Hirschbühl (2011d).
  9. 1 2 Fishkin 2011 , Chapters 2 & 3.
  10. Raaflaub, Ober & Wallace 2007 , p. 5
  11. 1 2 Cary & Scullard 1967
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Bibliography

Further reading