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Constitutional ReferendumsThe Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation$
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Stephen Tierney

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199592791

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592791.001.0001

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Elite Control and the Referendum Process

Elite Control and the Referendum Process

(p.98) 4 Elite Control and the Referendum Process
Constitutional Referendums

Stephen Tierney

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins to assess in detail the main criticisms of the referendum set out in Chapter 2. The first issue is control. A common trope in contemporary democratic theory is that referendums are fundamentally undemocratic because they are controlled by and open to the manipulation of elites. The chapter explores this question further, arguing that the issue of control must be broadened from the political context to examine the broader interplay of constitutional competence and political capacity throughout the referendum process, looking at the referendum as a series of stages, and addressing how the complicated motives of political actors all impact upon the control issue.

Keywords:   control, referendums, democratic theory, constitutional competence, political capacity

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