The institution of the local referendum in Eastern Europe: the organization and legal regulation
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Институт государства и права Российской академии наук, Российская Федерация.
Publication date: 2020-06-15
Studia Politologiczne 2020;56
This article examines the characteristic features of the institution of the local referendum in Eastern Europe. The author believes that it is very important for states, which have relatively recently embarked upon the path of democratic development, after decades of communist domination, that the traditional representative institutions are supplemented by the structures of direct democracy, which can facilitate the more effective involvement of the population in the social and political life of the state, and introduce them to modern democratic values. It’s pointed out in the article that attitudes towards the institution of the local referendum in the countries of Eastern Europe are ambiguous, and its introduction has run into a number of obstacles. This might be explained by institutional reasons, by citizens having limited interest in municipal affairs, and the absence of the tradition of citizens directly participating in the resolving of issues of governance. The institution of direct democracy has often only been introduced slowly, which is often due to resistance from the main political parties and the current political elites, who see the activation of direct democracy as a threat to their position. Nevertheless, the author stresses the important practical role of the institution of the local referendum, its ability to serve the interests of both the state as well as the citizens. Through to the institution of the referendum citizens have acquired an additional channel of participation in the political decision-making process, and this facilitates the realization of the principle of political equality and the formation of more open political power structures. The institution of the local referendum is after all an important instrument of political control on the part of the civil society that is necessary for the further development of democratic statehood in the countries of Eastern Europe.
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