The use and design of referendums

26 May 2005
Seoul, South Korea
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International IDEA’s interest in direct democracy concerns whether, when and how the use of direct democracy mechanisms is appropriate to enhance democratic systems. By involving voters directly in decision making processes, does the use of direct democracy increase voter participation?

Does allowing voters the opportunity to initiate their own laws and to vote on others increase their satisfaction that political outcomes more accurately reflect their preferences? Does direct democracy reduce dissatisfaction with elected representatives, and does the existence of direct democracy mechanisms act as a discipline on the behaviour of elected officials? Criteria by which the success of direct democracy as a component of a democratic system might be judged include: levels of participation and engagement, or levels of satisfaction with the democratic system.

About the Speaker

Former International IDEA Director for Asia and the Pacific
Andrew Ellis