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The Legal Limits of Direct Democracy

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The Legal Limits of Direct Democracy

A Comparative Analysis of Referendums and Initiatives across Europe

9781800372795 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Daniel Moeckli, Professor of Public law with a focus on International and Comparative Law, Anna Forgács, PhD Researcher and Henri Ibi, PhD Researcher, Institute for International Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Publication Date: July 2021 ISBN: 978 1 80037 279 5 Extent: c 304 pp
With the rise of direct-democratic instruments, the relationship between popular sovereignty and the rule of law is set to become one of the defining political issues of our time. This important and timely book provides an in-depth analysis of the limits imposed on referendums and citizens’ initiatives, as well as of systems of reviewing compliance with these limits, in 11 European states.

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Critical Acclaim
Contributors
Contents
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With the rise of direct-democratic instruments, the relationship between popular sovereignty and the rule of law is set to become one of the defining political issues of our time. This important and timely book provides an in-depth analysis of the limits imposed on referendums and citizens’ initiatives, as well as of systems of reviewing compliance with these limits, in 11 European states.

Chapters explore and lay the scientific basis for answering crucial questions such as ‘Where should the legal limits of direct democracy be drawn?’ and ‘Who should review compliance with these limits?’ Providing a comparative analysis of the different issues in the selected countries, the book draws out key similarities and differences, as well as an assessment of the law and the practice at national levels when judged against the international standards contained in the Venice Commission’s Guidelines on the Holding of Referendums.

Presenting an up-to-date analysis of the relationship between popular sovereignty and the rule of law, The Legal Limits of Direct Democracy will be a key resource for scholars and students in comparative and constitutional law and political science. It will also be beneficial to policy-makers and practitioners in parliaments, governments and election commissions, and experts working for international organisations.
Critical Acclaim
‘Referendums and popular initiatives have become more frequent in Europe, and also more disruptive for the stability of national political systems. There is a rich political science literature on the promise and risk of direct democracy but the legal literature, so far, tended to be country-specific. The present volume fills a gap in our knowledge by providing an in-depth comparative study of the legal constraints that condition and channel the recourse to instruments of direct democracy. The book covers 11 representative countries of Europe and it also discusses the Europe-wide Code of good practice on referendums adopted by the Venice Commission.’
– Bruno De Witte, Maastricht University, the Netherlands

‘Like representative democracy, direct democracy needs the limits of the rule of law to be not only democratic but liberal. A work that fills a void, both precious collection of data on the legal framework of referendums and initiatives in Europe, and proof that direct democracy can and must be something other than the unhindered reign of the popular will – or of political actors who convene it.’
– Laurence Morel, Lille University and Sciences Po Paris, France
Contributors
Contributors include: N.C. Alivizatos, K. Baraník, J.I. Beriger, M. Birģelis, M. Fatin-Rouge Stefanini, A. Forgács, P. Garrone, H. Ibi, I. Kaučič, W. Marxer, D. Moeckli, R. Podolnjak, D. Simancas, B. Žuber
Contents
Contents:

1 Introduction to The Legal Limits of Direct Democracy 1
Daniel Moeckli

PART I THE VENICE COMMISSION’S CODE OF
GOOD PRACTICE ON REFERENDUMS
2 The Code of Good Practice on Referendums 11
Pierre Garrone
3 Revision of the Code of Good Practice on Referendums 19
Nicos C. Alivizatos

PART II ‘OLD’ EUROPEAN DEMOCRACIES
4 Switzerland 24
Daniel Moeckli
5 Liechtenstein 43
Wilfried Marxer
6 Italy 65
Henri Ibi
7 Spain 86
Daniel Simancas
8 France 107
Marthe Fatin-Rouge Stefanini

PART III ‘NEW’ EUROPEAN DEMOCRACIES
9 Slovenia 135
Bruna Žuber and Igor Kaučič
10 Croatia 155
Robert Podolnjak
11 Slovakia 176
Kamil Baraník
12 Hungary 195
Anna Forgács
13 Latvia 214
Mārtinš Birģelis
14 Russia 236
Julian Ivan Beriger
15 Comparative conclusion 262
Anna Forgács, Henri Ibi and Daniel Moeckli

Index

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