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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Direct democracy in constitutional processes: the South African plebiscite of 1992
Author:Kersting, NorbertISNI
Periodical:Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (ISSN 0258-9346)
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589346.2010.522330
Abstract:Referendums are often seen as the final step to legitimizing a new constitution. In some cases these plebiscites are used to start the negotiation process. Who initiates the plebiscite and for what reason? Does a referendum strengthen certain actors or weaken their position in further negotiation processes? In this article the last whites-only South African plebiscite in 1992 is used as a case study. Confronted with a strong and growing opposition in the white National Party, President F.W. de Klerk initiated the plebiscite. Representing a new party elite, he wished to avoid a party split and public unrest in the white community. The referendum was broadly supported by the media, important economic interest groups and civil society organizations. The plebiscite strengthened de Klerk's position in the negotiation process at the end of the apartheid State and ultimately it contributed to a relatively peaceful political transition. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]