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The Usage Government-Initiated Referendums in Latin America. Towards a Theory of Referendum Causes

El uso de los referendos de iniciativa gubernamental en AmГ©rica Latina. Hacia una teorГ­a sobre las causas del uso de votaciones populares iniciadas por el gobierno


Department of Comparative Politics, University of Cologne

In the last two years there is an increase that is considerable the amount of referendums global. The current literature on direct democracy has thus far neglected to explain this occurrence by delivering a frequent concept regarding the factors behind referendums. This explorative research aims at undertaking actions toward shutting this space by centering on the precise types of facultative government-initiated referendums (FGIR) and their use within presidential systems. Utilizing QC A (a technique that is case-sensitive from the formal logic of Boolean algebra), this research methodically compares the governmental opportunity structures of 49 presidential systems from 12 Latin US nations to identify the factors that spurred or obstructed the event of FGIR. It concludes that FGIR are closely associated with high amounts of celebration system fragmentation and divided federal government, in other words. two facets that have for ages been considered problematic into the context of presidential systems, while their obstruction is especially owed towards the certain provisions that are constitutional the referendum device.

Keyword Phrases: Referendums, Latin America, Fragmentation, Direct Democracy.


En las Гєltimas dos dГ©cadas Ma existido alrededor del mundo un considerable aumento en el nГєmero de votaciones populares. No na sabido explicar el fenГіmeno mediante una teorГ­a consistente de las causas de los referendums sin embargo, la literatura existente sobre democracia directa. Este estudio exploratorio busca paso that is dar un para cerrar esta brecha, enfocГЎndose en los referendum facultativos iniciados por poderes polГ­ticos formales (facultative government-initiated referendums – FGIR) y su uso en los sistemas presidenciales. Utilizando OCA (tГ©cnica basada en lГіgica formal de ГЎlgebra booleanas), este estudio hace una comparaciГіn sistemГЎtica de la estructura de oportunidades polГ­ticas de 49 sistemas presidenciales de 12 paГ­ses de AmГ©rica Latina, para detectar los factores estimulan that is que obstruyen la ocurrencia de FGIR. Se concluye que los FGIR estГЎn fuertemente ligados a altos niveles de fragmentaciГіn partidaria y gobiernos divididos, dos factores que han sido problemГЎticos en los contextos de sistemas presidenciales. Por su parte, la obstrucciГіn se debe principalmente a provisiones constitucionales especГ­ficas que regulan los dispositivos de las votaciones populares iniciadas por el gobierno.

Palabras Clave: Plebiscito, AmГ©rica Latina, fragmentaciГіn, democracia directa.


The practical application of direct democratic instruments has increased considerably (LeDuc, 2003). 2 This trend has attracted scholarly attention and over recent years, considerable research investigating direct democracy has been published in renowned journals in the field of political science from the 1960s onwards, various nations of the world embraced the idea of direct democracy and over the past two decades. Thus far this literary works has primarily centered on the 2 nations that many usually utilize referendums, Switzerland while the united states of america from the state level (Ladner and Brandle, 1999; Gerber, 1996; Papadopulos, 2001; Tolbert and Hero, 1996; Vatter and Freitag, 2006), while an inferior quantity of magazines have actually centered on the revolution of referendums entailed in the act of European integration (Hug and Sciarini, 2000; Franklin et ah, 1995). These magazines have actually greatly added to your knowledge concerning the effect of referendums on politics and on diverse societal aspects. But, they will have perhaps maybe not yet produced a constant concept on the factors that cause referendums. The aim of this paper is always to undertake initial steps towards bridging this space.

To an extent that is large the ‘boom’ in direct democracy could be credited toward the increased quantity of citizen-initiated referendums and, to a smaller level, mandatory referendums (Morel, 2001) This development happens to be welcomed by advocates of direct democracy who stress the possibility of the tools to foster bottom-up participation and straight accountability (Barber, 1984; Schmitter, 2000). Nonetheless, on a few occasions, non-mandatory referendums on important political concerns have now been initiated by governing bodies in other words. legislatures or professionals. Such government-initiated referendums, which are generally known as plebiscites, 3 a phrase that carries a small negative connotation, mostly retain control of political decision-making in the hands of elected officials.

The occurrence of facultative government-initiated referendums (FGIR) 4 poses a theoretical puzzle (Rahat, 2007) despite contributing little to the overall increase in direct democracy.

Although it is understandable that residents will be involved in processes of decision-making when provided the straight to do this, governmental elites’ utilization of direct democratic instruments is harder to grasp. Exactly just What motivates authorities that are governing start referendums? Why should democratically legitimised representatives voluntarily offer up their monopoly to legislate, redistribute energy downwards, equal themselves with ordinary citizens in governmental decision-making, and fundamentally expose by themselves towards the chance of losing during the ballot box? The central purpose of this explorative research is to give you prospective responses to these concerns.


Refund Reason