Direct Democracy in Europe: Developments and Prospects

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Customer Service. In The Spotlight. Shop Our Brands. Problems related to the referendum provisions of the Constitution David E. Referendums allow addressing issues in the clearest and most direct way. A reasonably implemented referendum enhances representative democracy.

Prospects for e-democracy in Europe

There were 24 referendums on the European Union treaties and accession to the EU between and Binzer Hobold. Europe in Question: Referendums on European Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press ; M. Pallinger, B. Kaufmann, W. Marxer, T. Direct Democracy in Europe. Developments and Prospects. Manchester University Press ; T. Direkte Demokratie. Forschung und Perspektiven. Westdeutscher Verlag There is also an abundance of other articles. As regards Estonia, there is a significant monograph by Vallo Olle. Bringing in the People.

The Politics of Direct Democracy: referendums in global perspective. Broadview Press , p. Suksi Note 3 , p.

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Elections and Referendums. Caramani ed.

Comparative Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press , p. Riigiteoreetilisi probleeme: miks nad on tekkinud ja kuidas neid lahendada? The electoral body is comprised of members of the Riigikogu and representatives of the local government councils. Each local government council elects at least one representative to the electoral body, who must be an Estonian citizen.

The specific procedure for the election of the President of the Republic is provided by the President of the Republic Election Act Vabariigi Presidendi valimise seadus. AS Juura , p. Institute of International and Social Studies. Tallinn: Teaduste Akadeemia Kirjastus , pp. Raitviir Note 21 ; J. Auer, M. Butzer ed. Ashgate , pp. Adopted and entered into force AS Juura , pp. Cambridge , pp. Obsolete or Infinite? Kalmo, M.

Luts-Sootak ed. Laffranque Note 26 , pp. The Proceedings of the Institute for European Studies. The veterans sought, among other things, to introduce the institute of a president in the constitution. See A. A Historical Encyclopedia.

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Blamires, P. Jackson eds. Butler, A. AEI Press , pp. A similar rise in both the number and the strength of populist parties has recently upended the politics of Hungary, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. The transformation of Eastern European politics is most striking in countries where populism has become so pervasive that primary competitors to populist governments are themselves populist. Hungary is a particularly concerning case. Similarly, in Bosnia, the right populist Alliance for Independent Social Democrats out-competed another right populist grouping, the Serbian Democratic Party, in and Together, they took over half of the vote.

For now, they hold governmental responsibility in only two countries: as a junior coalition partner in Austria and as part of the Swiss Federal Council in Switzerland. But while populists are not nearly as dominant in the politics of Western Europe as they are in the East, they have made significant gains over the past years.

In France, for example, Marine le Pen qualified for the second-round run-off against Emanuel Macron in the Presidential elections. While she did not come within striking distance of winning the presidency, taking one third of the vote, she roughly doubled the result her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had achieved when he qualified for the second round of the Presidential election back in Between the AfD and the left-leaning Die Linke, populists now make up about one quarter of the Bundestag.

This points to two crucial ways in which populists have had a bigger impact on Western European politics than their topline numbers suggest. First, the rising competition on the far-right has pushed many centre-right parties to adopt more extreme positions on issues including immigration. Second, the rise of the populists has significantly strained the tradition of coalition government in many countries that have a system of proportional representation.

Because of the strong presence of populist parties, it is now very difficult for ideologically coherent coalitions to gain a governing majority on either the centre-left or the centre-right. As a result, moderate parties are forced to govern with their traditional rivals on the other end of the moderate spectrum or to enter a coalition with the populists; the only alternative is to fail to form a government at all.


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This dilemma has already complicated the formation of a new German government after elections this past fall, and will continue to characterise the politics of many Western European parties until populist parties either decline in significance or gain enough vote share to lead governments of their own. Populist parties enjoy considerable success across much of Southern Europe. They have dominated Greek politics over the past years; form the bedrock of the opposition in Spain; and are according to most opinion polls likely to play an increasingly prominent role in Italian politics after the general election in May Especially since the inception of the eurozone crisis and the rise of austerity politics, these parties have waged campaigns for fiscal sovereignty, advocated for stronger fiscal transfers within the European Union, and promised to expand the welfare state.

At the same time, some of these parties have increasingly taken a nationalist turn: rooted in notions of economic sovereignty and self-determination, rather than in direct appeals to ethnic ancestry, this form of nationalism has allowed left-populists to exploit issues of immigration and rail against foreign economic influence.

Direct Democracy Europe Developments Prospects by Bruno Kaufmann - AbeBooks

These developments are especially clear in Greece. The main governing party, Syriza, has grown out of an assortment of far-left movements, and took an unprecedented However, since Syriza was unable to govern on its own, and was determined to eschew mainstream coalition partners like the centre-left PASOK party, it ultimately formed an uneasy coalition with the right-wing populists of ANEL. While populism remains a minority phenomenon in Northern Europe, the vote share of populist parties has rapidly grown in recent parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, populists are also well-represented in multi-party governments in Finland and Norway.

The more moderate New Alternative which united 21 of the original 38 True Finns parliamentarians has remained in the governing coalition. What is more, the influence of populist parties in Scandinavia has probably been bigger than their share of the vote suggests. Especially on issues like immigration, they have also had a real impact on mainstream parties, leading both centre-right and, in some cases, centre-left parties that face new competition from the right to adopt more hardline positions on matters of immigration and social welfare spending. It is in the three Baltic countries, however, that the influence of Northern European populist parties has been most significant.

Since the early s, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have regularly been governed with populist participation, and have often seen sizable populist blocs in their respective parliaments. In Lithuania, the agrarian populism of the Peasant and Greens Union has enjoyed considerable success in recent years. In Latvia, the right-populist Who Owns the State party entered the national parliament during its first electoral campaign in The geography of populism is key to an understanding of political transformations in Europe: the trends in Eastern Europe differ from those in Western Europe, and those in the North differ from those in the South.

An account that looks only at European averages, or only at individual countries, would mask some of the most consequential trends. But there is also a second dimension along which it is important to disentangle populist movements: ideology. In recent debates, populism has sometimes been used as a shorthand for nativism. Since there are some left-wing populist parties that do not as yet have strong nativist elements, this is a conceptual mistake. However, there is strong empirical reason why this mistake is so common: As a look at our dataset demonstrates, right-wing populist parties are much more influential than left-wing populists.

The clear majority of European populist parties are on the right: 74 out of parties in our dataset are right populists. Part of the reason for this preponderance of right-wing populism may be a rapid increase in the number of right-wing populist parties: While only 24 right-wing populist parties stood for election in , their number had doubled by , when 46 right populist parties appeared on ballots across the continent. Indeed, in , populist parties across Europe had a vote share of In Eastern Europe, five of every six populist votes went to the far-right.

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