Friday, March 1, 2013
Referendums are perhaps the most important, effective and full instrument Active Citizenship to dispose of citizens. Through referendums, citizens gain the ability to constitute, revoke, or altered a law.
The word "referendum" comes from the Latin "referendu" ("for approval") has become a participatory instrument present in virtually all democratic systems of developed countries.
A referendum may be mandatory or optional. In the first case, the constitution stipulates that in cases where this data should be convened in the second it occurs only as a certain organ of the State decides to convene or when - the most advanced countries in front of participatory democracy - there is a petition complaining popular its realization. In Portugal and Brazil, the model is optional referendum. For a country like Switzerland, is mandatory.
The Swiss case is exemplary in this respect: the first referendums were summoned here in the fifteenth century, in the cantons of Valais and Grisons to adopt decisions taken at cantonal assemblies. Supreme expression of the participatory character of Switzerland is also the fact that all their constitutions - with the sole exception of 1801 - were all approved in a referendum.
In Switzerland, participation in popular assemblies (Landsgemeiden) of cantons is required leading to a penalty for failure. If the convening of a referendum on changes to the constitution of cases is practically mandatory, so even if legislation is completely mandatory: all changes to the constitution - whether federal or cantonal - must be countersigned. In the ordinary laws of the use of the referendum mechanism is even more common being countersigned most laws on taxation, the European Economic Area, national security, traffic, quality of life and immigrants, etc..
In the U.S., the referendums are an important part of the democratic exercise, practically since the time of independence. But currently, the referendum is rarely used at national or federal being used primarily within the states or local authorities. The themes that are required are typically fiscal, voting rights, public safety, public education and new technologies.
Conclusion:Referenda are probably the most important and useful tool that is available to anyone who wants to implement a revolution in these participatory democratic systems blocked and paralyzed today. People to return a portion of the powers and freedoms that have chosen to relocate to elected representatives and - often - disregard or forget this basic duty of representation. They have costs, certainly in time and financial order, but the Swiss example proves that the term obtains savings and efficiency gains in the quality of decisions. Thorough and well worth its widespread use and amplified the scale and effects, assuming effectively as the main weapon in this regeneration of democracy that imposes itself today as necessary and imperative.