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9 April 2013 The Idea of Direct Democracy Dr. Corsin Bisaz c2d-center for research on direct democracy Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau (ZDA)

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Presentation on theme: "9 April 2013 The Idea of Direct Democracy Dr. Corsin Bisaz c2d-center for research on direct democracy Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau (ZDA)"— Presentation transcript:

1 9 April 2013 The Idea of Direct Democracy Dr. Corsin Bisaz c2d-center for research on direct democracy Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau (ZDA)

2 IWhy direct democracy? IIThe idea of direct democracy and its historical roots IIIDirect democratic legitimacy IVLimits of direct democratic legitimacy VThe direct democratic state Overview

3 Visit of Mongolian Officials39 April 2013

4 Visit of Mongolian Officials49 April 2013

5 Visit of Mongolian Officials59 April 2013

6 Visit of Mongolian Officials6 I Why direct democracy? Direct democracy – an ideal – The people have the right not only to elect, but also to decide – The people have the right to raise political issues on which they can decide – The people have the right to decide on all important issues – Their decision is legally binding Direct democracy – a historical fact Direct democracy – a philosophical concept? 9 April 2013

7 II The idea of direct democracy and its historical roots Historical roots : – Ideological precursors (16 th /17 th ): Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau – American Revolution 1770: Constitutional referendum – French Revolution 1789: Human rights, initiative, referendums, recall Tradition of the Landsgemeinde, neither monarchy nor authoritarian state Helvetic (1798 – 1803) Radical and democratic movements in the Swiss cantons – 1830 – 1845 Hidden reception of revolutionary institutions in the cantons – 1845 – 1890 Spread, dd against corruption, extension to the federal level Spread worldwide – US states of the West coast from the 1890ies; Uruguay 1934; Baltic states 1990 Visit of Mongolian Officials7 9 April 2013

8 Visit of Mongolian Officials8 IIIDirect democratic legitimacy Legitimacy of political decisions is derivative from the people Individuals are free, autonomous, and equal Representatives are accountable to the people The citizens need to have the final say on every important decision in the state Underlying rationale: the all affected principle or the coercion principle 9 April 2013

9 Some theoretical issues: The boundary problem – what is a legitimate people? The principle of subsidiarity The tyranny of the majority? Human rights? IV Limits of direct democratic legitimacy

10 …in practice: As a state body, the people are bound by the Constitution No democracy without rule of law Federal Court 2003: no municipal ballots on naturalization The fate of popular initiatives violating human rights – Anti-Minaret vote of November 2009 – Random expulsion of foreign criminals: vote of November 2010 Swiss democracy in a learning process Visit of Mongolian Officials109 April 2013

11 V The direct democratic state Role of the government Role of the constitution Switzerland has not invented direct democracy, direct democracy has invented (modern) Switzerland Visit of Mongolian Officials11 9 April 2013

12 9 April 2013 The Idea of Direct Democracy THANK YOU! Dr. Corsin Bisaz c2d-center for research on direct democracy Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau (ZDA)


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