National level referendum frequencies worldwide by continent, with Switzerland singled out, 1792-2010

23 10 2012

On the national level direct democracy votes are on the rise worldwide. At c2d we document referendum votes since 1793 (see: http://www.c2d.ch). However, during the last two decades, for the first time in history, Latin America as well as Europe have outnumbered Switzerland regarding the frequency of national referendums. For Europe we attribute this development to the fact that most East European countries have incorporated mechanisms of direct democracy into their new Constitutions after 1991. In Latin America we observe a ‘third wave’ of democratization leading to an increase of referendum votes.

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