C2D Publications

Another major activity is to publish our research and make it accessible to academics and the public worldwide.

All publication output is collected in the University of Zurich open access collection - ZORA.

In addition, C2D has an online working paper series which is registered with the Swiss National Library and also published in the open access collection of the University of Zurich - ZORA.

Somer, Evren (2015) Direct Democracy in the Baltic States: Institutions, Procedures and Practice in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Studien des Instituts für Ostrecht, Band 76. Frankfurt a. M., Peter Lang.

Over the last decades, provisions for direct democracy have increasingly been added to new constitutions around the world, including in the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Using a comparative legal approach, this book identifies a large set of direct democratic instruments in the Baltics that are being activated either automatically, by public authorities or by the citizens. Although direct democracy should empower the people to share state power and to take political decisions over the heads of their representatives, the results of its practical use between 1991 and 2014 do not confirm these assumptions. Besides informal aspects there are many procedural obstacles in each country that restrict not only the use of such tools but also the chance that the referendum will pass. (Order here)

Bisaz, Corsin and Andreas Glaser (Hrsg.) (2015) Rätoromanische Sprache und direkte Demokratie: Herausforderungen und Perspektiven der Rumantscha. (Schriften zur Demokratieforschung, 10). Zürich, Schulthess Verlag.

Almost 100 years after the foundation of the Lia Rumantscha the Rumantsch language community finds itself in a situation of unrest. This edited volume unites contributions delivered for a conference on the becoming and current situation of Rumantsch language policy, 11 April 2014, in Chur. The contributions in this book take up current challenges and open up new perspectives from a legal, socio-linguistic and theory of democracy point of view. The most important political actors in Rumantsch language policy also have a say. This volume should therefore give everyone interested in language and minority policies in general, and the Rumantschia in particular, an up to date, previously not available, differentiated and broad insight to the topic.

Langer, Lorenz (2014) Religious Offence and Human Rights: The Implications of Defamation of Religions. [Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law]. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Should international law be concerned with offence to religions and their followers? Even before the 2005 publication of the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Muslim States have endeavoured to establish some reputational protection for religions on the international level by pushing for recognition of the novel concept of 'defamation of religions'. This study recounts these efforts as well as the opposition they aroused, particularly by proponents of free speech. It also addresses the more fundamental issue of how religion and international law may relate to each other. Historically, enforcing divine commands has been the primary task of legal systems, and it still is in numerous municipal jurisdictions. By analysing religious restrictions of blasphemy and sacrilege as well as international and national norms on free speech and freedom of religion, Lorenz Langer argues that, on the international level at least, religion does not provide a suitable rationale for legal norms.

Loada, Augustin et Jonathan Wheatley (coord.) (2014) Transitions démocratiques en Afrique de l'Ouest: Processus constitutionnels, société civile et institutions démocratiques. [Études africaines - Politique]. Paris, L'Harmattan.

Cet ouvrage est le fruit d'une recherche comparative portant sur les processus démocratiques en cours au Bénin, au Burkina Faso, au Mali, au Togo, au Niger, au Sénégal et au Ghana. Elle vise à comprendre pourquoi ces sept États d'Afrique de l'Ouest présentent autant de différences en termes de types de régimes alors qu'ils reposent sur des niveaux de développement socio-économique similaires ainsi que sur des processus d'ouverture démocratique et de changement constitutionnel comparables. (Order here)

Lissidini, Alicia; Welp, Yanina and Zovatto, Daniel (Comp.) (2014) Democracias en movimiento: mechanismos de democracia directa y participativa en América Latina. Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, Mexico.

In contrary to what some analysts are suggesting we do in Latin America not find apathy or political desinterest in politics. Even though citizens seem to give less attention to the electoral and representative dimension, mechanisms of direct democracy such as referendums, participatory democracy such as the participatory budget and of advocacy democracy such as public hearings, can - at least theoretically - contribute to a strengthening of democracy. Does this really happen? Or do these mechanisms - to the contrary - lead to new forms of clientelism? Do the citizens really have more power or are the participatory mechanisms merely symbolical, more institutionalised versions of already existing variants? In a context in which political parties have lost their central role the analysis needs to open up for other actors and political processes in order to grasp a democracy in movement. There is no single answer to these questions. This collective work presents a selection of studies attempting to give some answers and hints to the mentioned questions. (download as pdf)

Yanina Welp and Uwe Serdült (Coords.) (2014) La dosis hace el veneno: Análisis de la revocatoria del mandato en América Latina, Estados Unidos y Suiza. Consejo Nacional Electoral/Instituto de la Democracia: Quito, Ecuador.

The objective of  La dosis hace el veneno is to understand the institutional designs and practices of the recall, which is defined as a mechanism of direct democracy that has to be triggered by the citizens in order to interrupt the mandate of an elected authority. The chapters of the book contain an analysis of the recall in seven Latin American countries (Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina and Cuba) and in the two first countries introducing this institution, namely the United States of America and Switzerland. The studies in this volume suggest that the existence of the recall can help to generate alternative channels in order to resolve political conflict as an emergency solution whilst preserving the democratic rules of the game and increasing the legitimacy of the system. However, in established democracies allowing the citizens to intervene directly to prevent laws, undesired developments or to propose reforms, the use of the recall will be used much less frequently. Without the appropriate institutional design the recall can be converted into a disruptive weapon in the hands of political parties and organisations. In such cases recall does not enhance democracy and has a negative effect on governability. The recall thus produces a paradox: it can only enhance democracy in a context in which the strength of democracy turns it obsolete.  (pdf download of the book)

Uwe Serdült (2014) Referendums in Switzerland, in: Matt Qvortrup (Ed.) Referendums Around the World: The Continued Growth of Direct Democracy. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Referendums Around the World is a ground breaking empirical study. A successor to David Butler and Austin Ranney's classic, the present volume surveys all referendums held worldwide since since 1793. Unlike its predecessor, in this edition, Dr Qvortrup and a cast of outstanding contributors provide a thorough account of the pros and cons of referendums, the reason why politicians have submitted issues to referendums and the consequences of letting the people decide. Covering countries and regimes ranging from developed democracies to autocratic regimes, the book is a tour de force of referendums written by some of the world's foremost experts on the subject.

F. Mendez (2014) What's behind a Matching Algorithm? & F. Mendez, J. Wheatley, Using VAA-Generated Data for Mapping Partisan Supporters in the Ideological Space, in: D. Garzia and S. Marschall (Eds.) Matching Voters with Parties and Candidates. Colchester: ECPR Press.

Voting Advice Applications – VAAs – have become a widespread online feature of electoral campaigns in Europe, attracting growing interest from social and political scientists. But until now, there has been no systematic and reliable comparative assessment of these tools.

Previously published research on VAAs has resulted almost exclusively in national case studies. This lack of an integrated framework for analysis has made research on VAAs unable to serve the scientific goal of systematic knowledge accumulation.

Against this background, Matching Voters With Parties and Candidates aims first at a comprehensive overview of the VAA phenomenon in a truly comparative perspective. Featuring the biggest number of European experts on the topic ever assembled, the book answers a number of open questions and addresses debates in VAA research. It also aims to bridge the gap between VAA research and related fields of political science.

Fernando Mendez, Mario Mendez and Vasiliki Triga (2014) Referendums and the European Union: A Comparative Inquiry. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Why have referendums on European integration proliferated since the 1970s? How are referendums accommodated within member states' constitutional orders and with what impact on the European integration process? What is the likely institutional impact of referendums on the future of the European integration process? Drawing on an interdisciplinary approach, these are just some of the fundamental questions addressed in this book. The central thesis is that the EU is faced with a 'direct democratic dilemma', which is compounded by the EU's rigid constitutional structure and a growing politicisation of the referendum device on matters related to European integration. Referendums and the European Union discusses how this dilemma has emerged to impact on the course of integration and how it can be addressed.

Anita Breuer and Yanina Welp (2013) (Eds.) Digital Technologies for Democratic Governance in Latin America: Opportunities and Risks. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

This book is the first to comprehensively analyse the political and societal impacts of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in a region of the Global South. It evaluates under what conditions some Latin American governments and people have succeeded in taking up the opportunities related to the spread of ICTs, while others are confronted with the pessimist scenario of increased, digitally induced social and democratic cleavages.

Specifically, the book examines if and how far the spread and use of new ICT affected central aims of democratic governance such as reducing socio-economic and gender inequality; strengthening citizen participation in political decision making; increasing the transparency of legislative processes; improving administrative processes; providing free access to government data and information; and expanding independent spaces of citizen communication. The country case and cross-country explore a range of bottom-up driven initiatives to reinforce democracy in the region.

The book offers researchers and students an interdisciplinary approach to these issues by linking it to established theories of media and politics, political communication, political participation, and governance. Giving voice to researchers native to the region and with direct experience of the region, it uniquely brings together contributions from political scientists, researchers in communication studies and area studies specialists who have a solid record in political activism and international development co-operation.

Wheatley, Jonathan and Fernando Mendez (Eds.) (2013) Patterns of Constitutional Design: The Role of Citizens and Elites in Constitution-Making. Ashgate.

To what extent does the constitution-making process matter? By focusing on three central aspects of constitution-making; the nature of the constitution-making body, how it reaches decisions and the way in which a new constitution is legitimized and by examining a wide range of case studies, this international collection from expert contributors provides answers to this crucial question.

Bridging the gap between law and political science this book draws together divergent research on the role of constitution making in conflict resolution, constitutional law and democratization and employs a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to unfold and explore the political frameworks of the states affected. Comparative analysis is used to investigate potential causal chains between constitution-making processes and their outcomes in terms of stability, conflict resolution and democracy. By focusing on both procedure and context, the book explores the impact of constitution-making procedures in new and established states and unions in Europe, South America and Africa.

Glaser, Andreas (2013) Die Entwicklung des Europäischen Verwaltungsrechts aus der Perspektive der Handlungsformenlehre. Tübingen: Mohr.

The development of European Administrative Law is reflected in the changes of the administrative instruments both in the Member States and on the EU level. In this respect,the European composite administration is a pivotal topic of current legal issues and future lawmaking plans.

In den Rechtsordnungen der EU-Mitgliedstaaten sind den Formen des Verwaltungshandelns bestimmte Rechtsfolgen in Bezug auf das Verwaltungsverfahren, die Wirksamkeit von Verwaltungshandlungen, die Auswirkungen von Rechtsverstößen und den Rechtsschutz zugeordnet. Ausgehend hiervon untersucht Andreas Glaser die Einwirkungen der als Unionsverwaltungsrecht bezeichneten Vorgaben des EU-Rechts auf die jeweilige Handlungsformenlehre des nationalen Rechts. Weitere Schwerpunkte der Analyse bilden die Handlungsformen der EU-Eigenverwaltung auf der Grundlage des Vertrages von Lissabon sowie das Zusammentreffen nationaler und unionaler Handlungsformen im Rahmen des Europäischen Verwaltungsverbundes. Anhand dieser Betrachtungen benennt der Autor übergreifend Übereinstimmungen und Unterschiede zwischen den Rechtsordnungen. Abschließend zeigt er das rechtspolitische Entwicklungspotenzial auf.

Bisaz, Corsin (2012) The Concept of Group Rights in International Law: Groups as Contested Right-Holders, Subjects and Legal Persons. [The Raoul Wallenberg Institute Human Rights Library, 41]. Leiden/Boston: Martinus Nijhoff.

The Concept of Group Rights in International Law offers a critical appraisal of the concept of group rights in international law on the basis of an extensive survey of existing group rights in contemporary international law. Among some of its findings is the observation that an ideological way of arguing about this legal category is widespread
among scholars as well as practitioners; it sees this ideological framing as one of the main reasons why international law has so far been very reluctant to provide group rights and to call them by their name. Accordingly, the book re-evaluates the concept based on the experience with existing group rights in international law and pleads for a more pragmatic approach. Despite limitations with the concept, the overall thesis is that there is a role for group rights as a pragmatic tool allowing for a principled approach to substate groups through international law. Such an approach could turn group rights into an arguably minor, but nevertheless, highly relevant legal category of international law.

Gabriela Rohner (2012) Die Wirksamkeit von Volksinitiativen im Bund 1848-2010. Zürich/Basel/Genf, Schulthess.

Gemäss Statistik ist die Volksinitiative im Bund ein wenig wirksames Instrument, da die Annahmequote lediglich 7% beträgt. Diese Einschätzung schlägt fehl, da die Behörden Volksinitiativen häufig eigene Vorlagen in Form von Gegenvorschlägen entgegenstellen, worin sie die Anliegen der Initianten ganz oder teilweise aufnehmen. Werden diese direkten oder indirekten Gegenvorschläge umgesetzt, so bleibt eine Volksinitiative, obwohl sie abgelehnt oder zurückgezogen wurde, keineswegs wirkungslos.

In der vorliegenden Studie wird erstmals detailliert untersucht, wie viele Volksinitiativen Änderungen der Rechtsordnung bewirkten. Zusätzlich wird die Wirksamkeit der Volksinitiative auch unter inhaltlichen und weiteren Gesichtpunkten gemessen und bewertet. Die Ergebnisse lassen staunen!

We thank the publisher Schulthess Verlag to allow us to make the data annexes available online (download as pdf or xls). Make sure to cite the source:

Dr. iur. Gabriela Rohner, Die Wirksamkeit von Volksinititativen im Bund 1848-2010, Schriften zur Demokratieforschung Band 4
© Schulthess Juristische Medien AG, Zürich – Basel – Genf 2012

All rights reserved

Yanina Welp and Laurence Whitehead (Eds.) (2011) Caleidoscopio de la innovación democrática en América Latina. Flacso Mexico, Nuffield College, C2D.

Caleidoscopio de la innovación democrática en América Latina reúne un conjunto de estudios de novedosas instituciones de participación ciudadana y control político que se han desarrollado en los últimos años. Se trata de procesos incompletos, que merecen la designación de “potencialmente democratizadores”, aunque también incluyen posibilidades de deformación y descarrilamiento. Reflejan tanto el desencanto de muchos ciudadanos latinoamericanos con el desempeño real de los regímenes instalados en nombre de la democracia después de 1980, como la creatividad de varios actores políticos —viejas elites y coaliciones emergentes— que buscan reposicionarse y/o movilizar a sus bases.

Serdült, Uwe (2010) Referendum Campaign Regulations in Switzerland, in: Gilland Lutz, Karin and Hug, Simon (Eds.) Financing Referendum Campaigns. New York: Palgrave/MacMillan, 165-179.

Financing Referendum Campaigns asks the question: To what extent do voters really make a direct decision when voting in a referendum? The very phrase 'direct democracy' implies that rather than going through representative structures, voters can influence political outcomes directly if they have the chance to vote in a referendum. Contributors to this volume explore the influence of money and other resources on referendum campaigns and their results. Covering a range of countries in Europe and North America, they outline the spending regulations in force and begin to explore the effects these have on referendum outcomes.

Yanina Welp and Uwe Serdült (eds.) (2009) Armas de doble filo: La participación ciudadana en la encrudijada. Buenos Aires: Prometeo Libros.

Los estudios que se presentan en esta obra abordan un tema de renovado interés en América Latina: la introducción y el uso de mecanismos de democracia directa (MDD). Desde la transición a la democracia, y de forma más acentuada a partir de las reformas constitucionales de la década del noventa, hubo una creciente puesta en práctica de plebiscitos y referendos y, aunque en menor medida, de iniciativas populares. Los MDD se han utilizado para encauzar protestas sociales, refrendar actuaciones del Poder Ejecutivo o dirimir conflictos entre el Ejecutivo y el Legislativo; también han funcionado como canales institucionalizados mediante los que la ciudadanía pudo hacer oír su voz. Aunque estos mecanismos son complementarios de la democracia representativa, en algunas ocasiones han entrado en conflicto con sus procedimientos. Los estudios de caso presentados aquí analizan las consecuencias de estos instrumentos para la calidad de la democracia y su relación con los resabios autoritarios y populistas en que a menudo se da el ejercicio del poder en América Latina.

Auer, Andreas (Ed.) (2009) Special Issue: Cyprus and the Constitutional Convention, Journal of Balkan & Near Eastern Studies, 11 (4).

The Special Issue on Cyprus published in the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies represents another step in the long debate about the idea of a constitutional convention for Cyprus that c2d had officially and publicly discussed in an international academic conference in April 2008 in Aarau. The idea of a constitutional convention for Cyprus as a possible solution for the Cyprus' problem has been undermined, if not ignored, systematically by the various EU or UN agencies as well as the leaderships of the two communities in Cyprus. The special issue attempts to address the reasons why the idea of a constitutional convention has remained marginal in the debate by tackling the legal and political dynamics from various scientific points of views as well as critically appraising the notion of a convention.

Andreas Auer and Vasiliki Triga (Eds.) (2009) A Constitutional Convention for Cyprus. Berlin: wvb.

This book compiles selected papers presented at the Conference on “Constitutional Convention for Cyprus” organised by the Centre for Research on Direct Democracy (c2d) in April 2008. The papers were produced by academics in the social sciences (law, political science, sociology, international relations and psychology) who have developed an expertise in conflict resolution or in the specific topic of Cyprus. In addition, some of the papers are also contributions of representatives from various NGOs in Cyprus. Bringing together academics and representatives from civil society to discuss the idea of a constitutional convention as a potential solution scheme for Cyprus was an effort that stemmed from our conviction that a) academics need not to confine themselves to ivory tours, b) research on democracy must be applied to actual problems of our time, c) the Swiss experience with democracy and constitutionalism might be of some help to understand and hopefully overcome one of the most divisive conflicts within Europe over the last 50 years. Thus, the objective is to make this volume useful for the opening of a debate between academia and, more broadly, the public.

Alicia Lissidini, Yanina Welp and Daniel Zovatto (eds.) (2008) Democracia directa en Latinoamérica. Buenos Aires: Prometeo Libros.

La obra presenta una selección de las ponencias presentadas en la I Conferencia Internacional sobre Democracia Directa en América Latina (Buenos Aires, 14 y 15 de marzo de 2007), organizada por el Center for Research on Direct Democracy (C2D), la Universidad de San Martin (UNSAM) y el Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). Los capítulos de la obra tratan sobre un tema de renovado interés en América Latina, el uso de mecanismos de democracia directa, y en particular el referéndum y la iniciativa ciudadana. También, exploran y analizan las nuevas formas de participación y control con las que cuenta la ciudadanía, impulsadas por los procesos de descentralización y por la difusión de las nuevas tecnologías de la información. Lejos de una mirada simplista, apocalíptica o utópica, los trabajos muestran la complejidad de un proceso en marcha, cuyo análisis es indispensable para comprender y actuar en función del fortalecimiento de la democracia latinoamericana.