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REVISTA DE CIENCIA POLГЌTICA / VOLUMEN 29/ NВ° 1 / 2009 / 23 – 55

The Employment Of 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

ANITA BREUER

Department of Comparative Politics, University of Cologne

In the last two years there’s been an increase that is considerable how many referendums worldwide. The literature that is existing direct democracy has thus far did not explain this event by delivering a regular theory regarding the factors behind referendums. This study that is explorative at undertaking actions toward closing this gap by centering on the precise types of facultative government-initiated referendums (FGIR) and their use in presidential systems. Using QC A (a technique that is case-sensitive regarding the formal logic of Boolean algebra), this study systematically compares the political opportunity structures of 49 presidential systems from 12 Latin US nations to identify the factors that spurred or obstructed the incident of FGIR. It concludes that FGIR are closely associated with high degrees of celebration system fragmentation and split federal government, for example. two facets which may have always been deemed problematic when you look at the context of presidential systems, while their obstruction is principally owed towards the particular provisions that are constitutional the referendum unit.

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

RESUMEN

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 dar un paso adelante 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 que estimulan u 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 se that is obstrucciГіn 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.

I. INTRODUCTION 1

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. Up to now this literary works has primarily dedicated to the 2 nations that many usually utilize referendums, Switzerland in addition to united states of america in the continuing state degree (Ladner and Brandle, 1999; Gerber, 1996; Papadopulos, 2001; Tolbert and Hero, 1996; Vatter and Freitag, 2006), while an inferior quantity of magazines have actually dedicated to the revolution of referendums entailed in the act of European integration (Hug and Sciarini, 2000; Franklin et ah, 1995). These magazines have significantly added to your knowledge about the effect of referendums on politics and on diverse societal aspects. Nevertheless, they will have maybe not yet produced a consistent concept on the factors that cause referendums. The goal of this paper would be to undertake initial actions towards bridging this space.

Up To a big degree, 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 whom stress the possibility of the tools to foster bottom-up participation and straight accountability (Barber, 1984; Schmitter, 2000). However, on a few occasions, non-mandatory referendums on crucial governmental concerns have already been initiated by governing bodies in other words. legislatures or professionals. Such government-initiated referendums, which are generally described as plebiscites, 3 a phrase that holds a small connotation that is negative mostly retain control of governmental decision-making in the possession of 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 citizens will be involved in processes of decision-making when because of the directly to do this, governmental elites’ utilization of direct democratic instruments is harder to grasp. Just just What motivates authorities that are governing initiate referendums? Why should democratically legitimised representatives voluntarily offer their monopoly up to legislate, redistribute energy downwards, equal themselves with ordinary residents in governmental decision-making, and fundamentally expose on their own to your chance of losing during the ballot field? The main purpose of this study that is explorative to produce possible answers to those concerns.

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