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The Legal Limits of Direct Democracy
A Comparative Analysis of Referendums and Initiatives across Europe1380
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.
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'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.'
Edited by Daniel Moeckli, Professor of Public law with a focus on International and Comparative Law, Anna Forgacs, PhD Researcher and Henri Ibi, PhD Researcher, Institute for International Law and Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Zurich, Switzerland
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 Zuber and Igor Kaucic 10 Croatia 155 Robert Podolnjak 11 Slovakia 176 Kamil Baranik 12 Hungary 195 Anna Forgacs 13 Latvia 214 Martins Birgelis 14 Russia 236 Julian Ivan Beriger 15 Comparative conclusion 262 Anna Forgacs, Henri Ibi and Daniel Moeckli Index