Informations and abstract
Keywords: Referendum, Popular Initiative, Direct/Representative Democracy, Plebiscitarianism, Deliberation.
What role can referendums and popular initiatives play in representative democracy? Can they contribute to a more «democratic» decision-making process or are congenial to a plebiscitarian conception of politics? The problem is that, even when the referendum is promoted «from below», the power to decide whether, when, on what theme and on which specific question citizens should be called to vote remains in the hands of small groups. Furthermore, when «referendum democracy» takes precedence over representative democracy, the spaces for deliberation and mediation between different interests and opinions, essential to any form of democracy, are sacrificed.