Direct Democracy

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Direct Democracy, Politics by the People.

What is Direct Democracy ?

Direct democracy is where the people of a country or area decide on policy initiatives directly, instead of relying on voted members to vote on issues for them.


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The more common “Representative Democracy”, as used in the UK, Australia, and most other democratic nations, relies on the elected Politician making decisions based on what He/She thinks, or more accurately, what their Political Party leader decides is best.

Many Representative Democracies do have some form of Direct representation, in the form of a Referendum, but those are only rarely used.

Switzerland is the best example of Direct Democracy, especially in the Swiss cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus, where full Direct Democracy is in operation.

Direct Democracy as defined by the Swiss:

Direct Democracy can be defined as a form or system of democracy giving citizens an extraodinary amount of participation in the legislation process and granting them a maximum of political self-determination. http://direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch

If about 2.5% of the electorate would like a change to the Constitution, then it must be decided on by the people.
Minor changes to most other new or changed laws, budgets, etc only need about 1.2% of the electorate to require a peoples vote.


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The passing of a constitutional amendment requires what is called a “double majority”. This means that BOTH the majority of people vote for the amendment AND a majority of cantons also give their consent.

Swiss national Level Referendums (each year):

2014: 9 to October 2014
2013: 11
2012: 12
2011: .
2010: 6
2009: 8
2008: 10
2007: 2
2006: 6
2005: 5
2004: 13
2003: 11
2002: 8
2001: 11
2000: 15


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