The biggest contemporary challenge to democratic legitimacy gravitates around the crisis of democratic representation.
To tackle this problem, a growing number of established and new democracies included direct democratic instruments in their constitutions, enabling citizens to have direct influence on democratic decision-making. However, there are many different empirical manifestations of direct democracy, and their diverse consequences for representative democracy remain an understudied topic.
Let the People Rule? aims to fill this gap, analysing the multifaceted consequences of direct democracy on constitutional reforms and issues of independence, democratic accountability mechanisms, and political outcomes. Chapters apply different methodological approaches to study the consequences of direct democracy on democratic legitimacy. These range from single in-depth case studies, like the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, to cross-national comparative studies, such as the direct democratic experience within the European Union.
'This is probably one of the most opportune books in years. The increasing activation of the diverse mechanisms of direct democracy in all corners of the world, sometimes with unpredictable results, forces us to wonder about the reasons behind their appeal as well as the consequences of these votes. While it is impossible to answer these large questions once and for all, this book provides us with a refreshing study (full of rich experiences) surrounding the multidimensional and sometimes contradictory world of direct democracy. For anyone interested in the potential tensions caused by the direct popular will, this book is a must.'
David Altman, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile