Historical Evolution of Referenda and Applications in Contemporary Democracy
Working paper, PADEMIA annual conference, 19-20 May 2016, Brussels, Belgium
21 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2018
Date Written: May 19, 2016
Referenda and popular legislative initiatives constitute the main institutions of direct democracy worldwide. By gradually creating a fertile environment for citizens’ political maturation and by triggering co-responsibility at the level of decision making, these institutions do not annul nor substitute the representative system of contemporary democracies but operate on a supplementary basis to it, given that they temporarily return the primary power to its origin, the people. The paper will first present an analysis of several types of referenda in EU Member States, followed by a more detailed presentation of historic and recent referenda in Greece. The effectiveness of referenda as policy tools will be discussed as well as several questions related to their contribution to democracy and the strengthening of popular sovereignty.
Keywords: Referendum, Popular Legislative Initiative, Greek Referendum, Popular Sovereignty
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