Marcel H. Van Herpen
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Referendums and popular initiatives
Can one have too much democracy?
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The question in this chapter is: does direct democracy lead to better government? The author analyzes the impact of referendums and popular initiatives in Britain, The Netherlands, California, and Switzerland. In the Netherlands and Britain, referendums have been hijacked by populists, while in California the adoption in 1978 of Proposition 13 has led to a blocked political system. In Switzerland direct democracy has become an instrument in the hands of the extreme right Swiss People’s Party to promote its xenophobic policies.

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The end of populism

Twenty proposals to defend liberal democracy

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