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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Direct democracy in southern and East Africa
Author:Kersting, NorbertISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Elections (ISSN 1609-4700)
Geographic terms:East Africa
Southern Africa
Abstract:There seems to be a worldwide trend towards direct democracy instruments such as referendums and initiatives. The African Union Charter (2007) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) strategy papers (2003) recommend these instruments. Is direct democracy the panacea for the problem of strong personalization of African party politics? If electoral democracy is the problem, is direct democracy the solution? This article describes the legal framework and the implementation in countries in southern and East Africa. Referendums, which are solely implemented at the national level, were often used to support regime change in the 1960s (independence) and in the 1990s (multiparty systems) and to strengthen and finalize conflict resolution. Plebiscites, characterized by strong executive governmental campaigning and party dominance predominate and citizen initiatives are not common. The implementation of citizen initiatives at both national and local levels could be an additonal way of strengthening accountability. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]