Journal of Theoretical Politics 14(4): 465±515 0951±6928[2002/10]14:4; 465±515; 027705

Copyright & 2002 Sage Publications London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi

Simon Hug and George Tsebelis
ABSTRACT The literature on referendums comes to con¯icting assessments: for some authors referendums are equivalent to direct democracy, for others, a poor and unfounded substitute. In addition, existing classi®cations use very diverse criteria, and theoretical models lead to different results depending on whether the underlying assumptions re¯ect a single- or multi-dimensional policy space: single-dimensional models lead to speci®c policy predictions, while multidimensional models typically identify paradoxes connected with referendums. We present a multi-dimensional model of referendums that leads to generalizations of the single-dimensional models. This multi-dimensional model makes predictions about how various provisions for referendums affect policy stability and the relationship between voter preferences and policy outcomes. To assess the relevance of these predictions we present information about referendum procedures all around the world on the basis of our model. Linking this information with existing empirical work on the effects of referendums suggests that our theoretical predictions are largely borne out. KEY WORDS . institutional analysis . referendums . veto players

No act of [representatives] can be law, unless it has been rati®ed by the people in person; and without that rati®cation nothing is a law. (Rousseau, 1947: 85) [W]e are deluding ourselves if we consider the referendum and the popular initiative of legislation as modern equivalents and substitutes of direct democracy. (Sartori, 1962: 256) If the people speak in meaningless tongues, they cannot utter the law that makes them free. (Riker, 1982: 239)

Institutional provisions for referendums are increasingly being added to new constitutions (e.g. in Eastern Europe, see Auer and Butzer, 2001). More and È more important questions are decided by referendum (e.g. recent changes of
Simon Hug acknowledges the partial ®nancial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grants 8210±046545 and 5004±0487882/1) and the research assistance of Anke Tresch. George Tsebelis acknowledges support by the Russell Sage Foundation.



constitutions in Venezuela and Australia, rati®cation of international treaties in the European Union, etc.). Increasingly scholars advocate greater use of referendums (e.g. Budge, 1996; Zurn, 1996; Abromeit, 1998; Ackerman, È 1999; Schmitter, 2000; etc.). But in the theoretical literature Riker's (1982) warning against populism together with recent work on `problems with referendums' (e.g. Brams et al., 1997, 1998; Lacy and Niou, 2000), or the `referendum paradox' (Nurmi, 1997a, b, 1998) still cast some doubt on the usefulness of referendums. We argue that ultimately the difference in assessments can be attributed to inadequate attention paid to the institutions regulating referendums. More speci®cally, scholars tend to neglect the important question of who controls the referendum agenda. We argue that this question is in fact separated into two parts: (1) who asks the question and (2) who triggers a referendum. But the existing literature has a series of additional shortcomings. Some authors classify referendums without paying attention to the strategic choices of the different actors involved. The more theoretical studies come to con¯icting conclusions depending on whether they assume that the underlying policy space is single-dimensional or has multiple dimensions. Singledimensional models lead invariably to sharp predictions of outcomes, while multi-dimensional models underline possible paradoxes. In this respect the referendum models mirror the rest of the spatial voting literature which leads to median voter results in single-dimensional models and in chaos when more dimensions are introduced. This discrepancy is particularly damaging to the study of referendums, because actual referendums sometimes address a simple question, in which case a single-dimensional model is a reasonable approximation, while at other times they are used to ratify whole constitutions, in which case single-dimensional models are inadequate. We present a multi-dimensional model of referendums on the basis of veto player theory (Tsebelis, 1995a, 1999, 2000, 2002). According to this theory veto players are actors whose agreement is necessary for a change in the legislative status quo. Every government of a country represents a certain con®guration of veto players.1 As the number of these actors and the ideological distances among them increase, a signi®cant change in the status quo becomes more dif®cult (policy stability increases). The possibility of a referendum introduces one additional veto player in each country: the population. As a result, it moves policy outcomes closer to the preferences of the median voter (if such a voter exists), but, provided that the remaining

1. See Tsebelis (2002) on how to identify and count veto-players as a function of the prevailing institutions (presidential or parliamentary regimes, uni-cameral or multi-cameral legislatures, required simple or quali®ed majorities) and the prevailing political game (number of parties in government, ideological distances among them).


veto players keep their powers, it also makes signi®cant policy changes more dif®cult.2 These are the similarities of all referendums. The differences among them stem from institutional differences about who asks the question and who triggers a referendum. We explain the signi®cance of these differences and, on the basis of them, examine the institutional details of referendums all around the world. In particular, we argue that if the same actor (whether it is an existing veto player or not) controls both the formulation of the question and the triggering of the referendum, other veto players lose their ability to veto outcomes and hence the number of veto players actually decreases. With our model we address the shortcomings in the different streams of the referendum literature: unlike the con¯ictual conclusions of single- and multi-dimensional models in the theoretical literature, we analyze referendums exactly the same way whether the underlying space has a single or multiple dimensions; we distinguish referendums on the basis of the strategic choices of the actors involved; we do so by paying attention to the institutions regulating referendums; ®nally, we come to conclusions consistent with the empirical evidence on the effects of referendums. The paper is organized in ®ve sections. Section I reviews the different approaches in the literature. We show that each one of these approaches has serious shortcomings on the theoretical or the empirical level. Section II introduces a model of referendums on the basis of veto player theory. This model compares the institutions of a representative democracy and a representative democracy combined with referendums. Section III develops the model further and points out the differences between referendums depending on who is empowered to ask the question and who triggers a referendum. On the basis of this classi®cation, we discuss the consequences of various types of referendums. Section IV uses the veto players model to study the institutions of referendums around the world. In Section V we show how well existing empirical evidence resonates with the theoretical claims we advance. The conclusion suggests avenues for further research.

I. Different Literatures on Referendums
The literature on referendums can be subdivided in three groups. The ®rst is empirical and often presents classi®cations of the institutions allowing citizens a direct say on policies. Each of these classi®cations emphasizes particular aspects of the referendum process, but most are disconnected from any theoretical framework. The other two groups consist of theoretical

2. We will show later that our argument holds even in multi-dimensional spaces where such a median rarely exists.



models that examine referendums as games among different actors. However, the ®rst of these two groups assumes that the questions asked can be represented on a single dimension and as a result the outcomes of different procedures can be calculated and identi®ed, while in the second group the multi-dimensionality assumption leads to a series of paradoxical and disturbing results. Classi®cations At the most basic level authors often distinguish between referendum and initiative (e.g. Ranney, 1978: 69; Magleby, 1984; Cronin, 1989). The referendum in this crude distinction is de®ned as a vote on a measure adopted by parliament. The initiative, however, allows citizens to propose a ballot measure, which may be adopted in a popular vote. Often, authors add a second criterion distinguishing whether the measure appearing on the ballot is a constitutional amendment or a statute or law (e.g. Ranney, 1978: 69). These distinctions between two basic forms of referendums are questioned in part by authors like Smith (1976), who rely on the functional properties of the referendum device. Smith (1976) argues that referendums can either be pro- or anti-hegemonic, and either controlled or uncontrolled.3 Combining these two criteria, Smith (1976) arrives at a fourfold classi®cation to which he adds an additional residual category, namely that of nonfunctional referendums, de®ned largely by their non-signi®cance. This classi®cation, obviously, does not only rely on institutional properties of the various referendum devices, but considers mostly contextual elements. A classi®cation based much more heavily on institutional characteristics appears in Suksi (1993: 28f ). This author proposes four dichotomous criteria to distinguish among different institutional provisions allowing for referendums. First he distinguishes between referendums that are mandatory and facultative. The second criterion discriminates between decisive and consultative. The third one distinguishes between pre-regulated and non-preregulated referendums, while the last one concerns whether citizens play an active or passive role in launching a referendum. The combination of these four dichotomies leads to a classi®cation with (theoretically) 16 possible types, several of which, however, are largely irrelevant since they do not appear in reality. In an attempt resembling Smith's (1976) classi®cation, Hamon (1995) proposes several classi®cations emphasizing the control various actors have over the referendum process. The most interesting aspect of his classi®cation effort is a simple table (Hamon, 1995: 24) showing possible combinations

3. Smith (1976) uses referendums as a generic term, also comprising initiatives.


between the author of a measure appearing on the ballot and the actor triggering the referendum process. Both sets of actors comprise parliament, government, the head of the state, parliamentary opposition and the citizens. While some combinations do not exist in reality, the classi®cation nevertheless goes a long way in emphasizing the difference between triggering a referendum and formulating the question. Uleri (1996) proposes a largely inductive classi®cation relying on six dichotomous criteria, which in part resembles the ones proposed by Suksi (1993). Uleri (1996) arrives, however, only at a fourfold typology, comprising decision-promoting initiative, decision-controlling initiative, decisionpromoting referendum and decision-controlling referendum. Among the latter he distinguishes between rejective and abrogative votes. This classi®cation attempt is picked up by Setala (1999) and combined with some of Suksi's È È (1993) criteria. Mueller (1996: 177f ) distinguishes among four types of referendums, namely the constitutionally mandated referendum, the governmentinitiated referendum, the citizen initiated veto and the citizen initiative. Hug (1999) derives an almost identical classi®cation by employing two criteria proposed by Suksi (1993), namely whether a referendum is required or not and whether voters are actively involved or not in triggering a referendum. For the non-required referendums, which are launched actively by the citizens, however, he introduces as an additional distinction the criterion of whether the ballot measure is proposed by the government or another actor. These latter two classi®cations are almost identical, since both authors explore the consequences of these four types of referendums in a strategic context. In such a strategic context it is of prime importance to know who triggers the referendum and who detains the agenda-setting power.

Theoretical One-dimensional Models The last two classi®cations also tie in very closely with existing theoretical models of referendums. While early models in the public choice tradition simply presumed that referendums would correct any type of rent-seeking behavior of government (see Mueller [1979] for a discussion of this literature), Romer and Rosenthal (1978, 1979) studying different types of school-bond referendums and demonstrated how required referendums may lead to policy outcomes quite far away from the one preferred by voters. Extending Romer and Rosenthal's (1978, 1979) work, Steunenberg (1992) proposes a generalization of these insights over a whole set of possible institutions for policy-making in a single dimension. Gerber (1996) presents a model more closely re¯ecting the initiative process. However, this earlier work is limited in two ways, namely by assuming ®rst complete and perfect information for all actors involved in the decision-making process and,

4 Matsusaka and McCarty (2001) propose a model of the initiative process where both the legislature and an interest group fail to know the voters' exact preferences.470 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) second. Hence. 1994) focuses on the limited information voters may have about ballot proposals and ®nds that endorsements by interest groups may provide helpful decision cues. A similar model of the initiative process appears in Besley and Coate (2001). Hug (1999) explores the effect of incomplete information for four types of referendums and ®nds that the effects of these institutions differ. McKelvey (1976) and Scho®eld (1978) demonstrated the importance of agenda-setting. for most preference pro®les voters (i. and the two authors also ®nd that the voters' wishes are more closely re¯ected in policy outcomes if initiatives are possible. . however. Theoretical Multi-dimensional Models The multi-dimensionality of policy decisions in referendums appeared much more strongly in work relying on social-choice-theoretic approaches. several authors relaxed the ®rst limitation by assuming some informational asymmetry among the actors involved. despite the two issues. In general. while the other is resolved in the legislature.e. Bowler and Donovan (1998) provide persuasive empirical tests of these implications as well as others in the context of referendum voting in the United States. in equilibrium only one of them appears on the ballot. They ®nd that for most preferences the initiative process allows for policies more closely aligned with the voters' wishes. Related to these theoretical models is recent work on some paradoxes which may occur in referendum voting. the median voter) are better off having referendums at their disposal which they may trigger themselves or which are required. Relying on more recent work in the agenda-setting literature. Moser's (1996) incomplete information model of the popular referendum process comes to a similar conclusion. they do not question the assumption of a single-dimensional space. Lupia (1992. While they consider two policy issues that have to be decided. voting on the ballot proposal is represented on a single dimension. While these theoretical models relax the complete information assumption of previous models. Based on their ®ndings Riker (1982) argued strongly against the existence of a Rousseauean `general will' in multi-dimensional policy spaces. because either policies are multidimensional or voters vote on various non-separable proposals at the same 4. that the policy to be decided can be represented in a one-dimensional policy space. In their analysis the agenda-setter could produce literally any outcome by sequencing appropriately the questions and exploiting the different preferences among the different individual actors.

II. we demonstrate that the results generated by empirical analyses are congruent with the expectations generated by our theory. According to Tsebelis (1995a) a veto player is an individual or collective player whose agreement is required for a change of the . b. Multiple criteria and different classi®cations characterize the more empirically oriented literature. 1999. Provided that various ballot measures are related. this work. 2002). Veto players. Brams et al. it is useful to take a step back. the disorderly image of positive and negative results ®nding also re¯ection in our quotes at the beginning of our paper persists when one focuses on the accounts in the literature. Nurmi's (1997a. 1998) work relates much more strongly with social choice theory and suggests a series of paradoxes that may appear in referendums. Lacy and Niou (2000) suggest that referendums are not very good at resolving the problems stemming from non-separable preferences and suggest that legislatures deal more effectively with these issues. however. Brams et al.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 471 time. Work in this tradition assumes well-behaved preferences over individual proposals while emphasizing that these preferences may be nonseparable from those on other proposals. (1997. second. b. b. voters with non-separable preferences cannot condition their vote on the outcome of another ballot measure. 1998) does not consider how referendums interact with representative democracy. Direct and Mediated Democracy Our analysis of the institutional frameworks of referendums is based on the concept of `veto players' and expands on the work of Tsebelis (1995a. First we show that the actual provisions prevailing around the world can be understood on the basis of our framework and. voters may have preferences over a particular ballot measure which are dependent on the outcome of another ballot measure. In addition. But since voting occurs simultaneously over all ballot measures at the same time. suggest using approval voting to overcome the problems of multiple ballot measures. In conclusion. 1998). they advocate the use of normal legislative procedures for issues where voters may have non-separable preferences. While this theoretical and empirical work related to social choice emphasizes important problems of referendums. 2000. Hence. with the exception of Nurmi (1997a. while speci®c outcomes or paradoxes dominate the more theoretical approaches. While they are concerned with the fact that possibly no voter has voted for the winning `combination'. Our goal is to provide a uni®ed framework for the study of referendums and to demonstrate two points. Lacy and Niou (2000) explore this problem from the angle of non-separable preferences. (1997. 1998) and Saari and Sieberg (2001) focus on the problem of multiple measures appearing on the same ballot.

The number of policy dimensions involved in a referendum is an open question. parties) actors. 2002) and empirically (1999. The second issue that we will address is that the preferences of such an `as if ' median voter may be signi®cantly different from the policy selected by existing veto players. but in multiple dimensions such a median voter very rarely exists. In addition. at other times efforts are made to separate issues and decide them one at a time. Median and `As If ' Median Voter Preferences in Referendums If we consider a group of people voting by majority rule whether to accept a proposal or reject it (and keep the existing status quo (SQ)). one or both chambers of parliament. the Italian Constitutional Court decided to exclude a popular proposal on the basis that it contained `such a plurality of heterogeneous demands that there was a lack of a rational. Sometimes multiple issues are lumped together. Tsebelis (1995b) demonstrates that in countries under a parliamentary regime the actual veto players are most of the time the parties in government. he points out (2000) how the interactions in referendums can be understood on the basis of the veto player framework. if the upper chamber's approval is required and a different majority controls this chamber (Germany some of the time). For example. there are exceptions. referendums are sometimes used to approve (or disapprove) whole constitutions. on the one hand. What difference does it make if outcomes are selected directly by the people or indirectly by the people's representatives in parliament? By de®nition outcomes selected by parliament will be preferred over the status quo by a majority in parliament. or in bicameral systems. unitary matrix that would bring it under the logic of Article 75 of the Constitution' (quoted in Bogdanor. However. This de®nition can be applied to all countries and allows for identifying the actors involved in policy-making whether they are individual (like Presidents with the power to veto legislation) or collective (governments. This section will ®rst make the argument that in our model (in sharp contrast with the literature that we reviewed) the number of underlying dimensions makes very little difference. the set of 5. . while outcomes selected by a referendum will be preferred by a majority of the voters.472 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) status quo. 1994: 63±4). on the other hand.5 Tsebelis demonstrates both theoretically (Tsebelis. 1995a. 2002) that the number of veto players and the ideological distances among them make changes to the status quo more dif®cult. for example if the President of the Republic has veto power over legislation (Portugal) or ordinances (France). In a single dimension the outcome will be determined by the corresponding median voter.

8. if the voting population has only three distinct preferences. so an `as if' median can be very well approximated by the center Y of the yolk of the population. 1990). This area is a circle centrally located within the group of voters. (1989). In other words. make the assumption that voters' preferences are represented by points in space and each voter is indifferent between two alternatives equal distance from their ideal point (Euclidean preferences). If d > 2r.6 They then consider the smallest circle intersecting all these lines and call it the `yolk'. Figure 1 provides a visual representation of the argument. 7. the win-set of the status quo is contained between two circles that differ little from each other: 4r. for the millions of people who are the potential participants in a referendum. . 1984) has identi®ed an area within which W(SQ) is located. Social choice literature (Ferejohn et al. 6. the boundaries of the win-set of the status quo are located between two circles. In addition.9 Consequently. so it can be approximated by the circle (Y. they draw all the `median' lines within the voter population. the median voter may not exist but all median lines pass through a very small area (of radius r). For example. d). As a result. and the segment SQY has length d. when r becomes smaller and smaller. d ‡ 2r). otherwise such a circle does not exist.7 We will take this ®nding as the departing point in our analysis. and includes a circle (Y.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 473 outcomes that can defeat the SQ form the win-set of the status quo: W(SQ). then there is no difference between such a population and a three-member voting body. It has also been shown (with computer simulations) that on average the size of the radius of the yolk (r) decreases as the number of voters increases (Koehler. they show that W(SQ) is included in a circle (Y. If the yolk has center Y and radius r. The yolk of the population is very small and has center Y. d À 2r). The interested reader can ®nd a simple proof of these statements in Miller et al.8 As a result. What the previous two paragraphs indicate is that for a large population. and is located between the two circles with radii (d ‡ 2r) and (d À 2r). in most countries or states r is (most of the time) exceptionally small. Median lines have on both sides of them majorities of voters (including the points on them). The win-set of a point that has distance d from Y is the shaded area in the ®gure. the win-set of the status quo for such a large population is also very well approximated by a circle with radius d. one with radius (d ‡ 2r) and the other with radius (d À 2r). More precisely. both of them with center Y.. the multiplicity of voters simpli®es rather than complicates the problem of identi®cation of the median voter and the win-set of the status quo. Ferejohn et al. 9. We underline `on the average' because one can ®nd counterexamples.

A. stable). D and E. we will identify the win-set of the status quo by considering each one of them as a veto player and ®nding the intersection of their win-sets.474 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Figure 1. We have shaded these areas in Figure 2. C. If we know some additional information about parliament's decision-making we can incorporate it in the calculations. C. For example. by de®nition. B. when we use the term `parliamentary' we will imply a system with stable majorities. Figure 2 indicates with dark shade the area where the outcome will be located if the parties forming the government are A. B. D and E. then we have to locate the intersections of any three of the circles with centers A. while when we use the term `presidential' we will imply . and identify the win-set of the status quo more accurately. Where would a parliamentary decision be located? If we know nothing about the parliament's decision-making except that it requires a simple majority (think of a decision taken in a presidential system where coalitions depend on the issue under consideration). Win-set of a Large Group of Voters Representative Democracy Consider a country with ®ve parliamentary parties. B and C in a parliamentary system government (where coalitions are. In the remainder of the paper. three of which are required to form a parliamentary majority (a simple example of that would be if each one of them had 20 percent of the seats). if we know the parties that form the government of a parliamentary system.

Win-set of Status Quo in Representative Democracy the possibility of different coalitions depending on the issue. What happens if representative democracy and referendums are combined? Representative Democracy and Referendums Denmark provides some interesting examples of the differences between the outcomes from representative democracy and referendums. which could not have gained a majority in the Folketing. As Vernon Bogdanor (1994: 72) puts it: It may seem a paradox that the Single European Act. received a majority in the country.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 475 Figure 2. . while Maastricht. Figure 3 helps us think the potential paradox through. was rejected by the voters in 1992. which enjoyed the support of parties with 80 percent of the seats in the Folketing.

Systems with higher thresholds like Sweden's 4 percent or Germany's 5 percent exclude many more. .5 percent. parliamentary institutions (like committees. the existence of electoral districts may create serious differences between the preferences of the voters and their representatives. for example. In fact. we do not even know that the preferences of the public will be centrally located within the preferences of the parties. Difference of Results Between Direct and Representative Democracy There is no reason to believe that the two processes (representative democracy and referendum) will lead to the same outcome. 2002). 1998: 336±7) shows one mechanism generating such a discrepancy.476 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Figure 3. Even the most pure proportional representation systems like Israel or The Netherlands cannot guarantee representation for minorities of 0.10 Finally. In addition. 10. quali®ed majorities) may also create discrepancies between popular preferences and parliamentary outcomes (see Tsebelis. The literature on referendum paradox (Nurmi.

we need to know who is able to frame the question of the popular vote.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 477 In Figure 3 we present how a referendum interacts with the parliamentary arena. the outcome of a presidential system would be anywhere in the area W(SQ). One can see that the possible solutions under representative democracy and referendums have several points in common. Second. . some of the classi®cations discussed earlier. 1995a). the parliamentary government A. B and C in government would be located in the very dark area. referendums create one additional veto player in the decision-making process: the people. This is only part of the story because there is no guarantee that the coalition prevailing among the voters would be politically the same as the coalition prevailing in parliament. in part. it becomes more dif®cult to change the status quo (Tsebelis. Institutions Regulating Referendums From the perspective of the veto player theory two main criteria are fundamental.11 But the institutions that regulate referendums affect both of these results. In other words. we have to know who may trigger the process of a referendum. while the outcome of a parliamentary system with parties A. Stating these questions clearly and using them as the main criteria for a classi®cation of different institutional provisions for referendums has the 11. B. the ®nal outcomes will approximate the preferences of the `as if ' median voter better when the possibility of a referendum exists (whether the actual decision is made by a referendum or not). III. Gerber and Hug (2001) discuss in detail these direct and indirect policy effects of institutional provisions allowing for referendums. In order to capture the differences in preferences between the people and their representatives we represent the center of the yolk Y H generated by the preferences of the people not in the center of the parties' preferences. On the basis of the analysis for representative democracies. but they are seldom pursued to their ultimate conclusions. There are two results from this introduction of a new veto player: ®rst. First. but the preferences of the population and the political parties do not necessarily coincide. For example. If a parliamentary decision has to be rati®ed by the population (as is frequently the case in constitutional matters) then the outcome has to be located in the intersection of the parliamentary and the popular win-sets. These two crucial questions underlie. Second. while the outcome of a referendum could be anywhere inside the hatched area in Figure 3. the outcome of a referendum will be located inside the hatched area called W H (SQ). On the basis of the analysis for median voter preferences. C would produce an outcome located inside the very dark area.

Figure 4. Mueller and Hug de®ne distinctions among referendums on the basis of what government and opposition do though these concepts may not be well de®ned in presidential systems. There are some slight differences.12 This allows us to make a much clearer distinction with respect to the two main criteria. There is an additional minor distinction. Questions De®ning Different Categories of Referendums 12.478 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) additional advantage of allowing theoretical claims on referendums to be easily tied into insights gained about representative democracy from veto player theory. Here we make distinctions on the basis of the behavior of actors identi®able in every political system: veto players and non-veto players. namely that even in parliamentary systems `government' and `veto-players' are not always identical (see footnote 6). How these criteria are used is best presented in a treelike fashion in Figure 4. First. Figure 4 employs these two basic questions to derive a fourfold classi®cation which comes very close to the ones proposed by Mueller (1996) and Hug (1999). .

however.13 The 13. 1994: 60). This much more ®ne-grained classi®cation into four major types allows a very detailed analysis of the policy consequences of the various types of referendums. If less than this minimal percentage of votes against a proposal it is deemed to be accepted by the voters. Although roughly 56 percent of the voters rejected the new constitution Napoleon declared it adopted. With respect to the question of who decides to trigger a referendum. When a non-veto player triggers a referendum the crucial question becomes who asks the question. Non-required referendums come in different forms and shapes and distinguish themselves by the two criteria. provisions for required referendums specify quali®ed majorities. Often. however. a referendum outcome is only valid if turnout exceeds 50 percent. constitutional amendments in many countries or changes in the voting age in Denmark (see Table 1). We discuss these policy effects for each referendum separately. namely the voters.g. Thus. two possibilities have to be taken into consideration. an actor who does not have veto player status in the legislative arena may ask the question. any new policy has to belong to the win-set of the status quo as de®ned by the voters' preferences. e. In other cases. This almost resembles the rules under which Napoleon held the ®rst national referendum in Switzerland on adopting a new constitution for the Helvetic Republic. In Denmark. required referendums add the hurdle of the support of the voters. a veto player in the normal legislative arena might trigger a referendum. Required Referendums At the most basic level required referendums introduce an additional veto player. but also among the cantons which make up the federation. in the former case the question of who triggers the referendum process is irrelevant. È . since referendums may only strike existing laws (or parts thereof ) from the books. Second. Apart from the veto players whose support is normally necessary to change policies. Obviously. In Italy. For policies that are the object of required referendums. In most cases this win-set corresponds to the set of policies that is preferred by a simple majority of the voters to the status quo. Popular initiatives.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 479 we have to distinguish between referendums that are required and those that are not. for instance in the States of the USA or in Switzerland. For instance in the federal system of Switzerland constitutional changes require a majority not only among the voters. First. an actor who is not a veto player in the representative system might trigger a referendum: popular vetoes and initiatives are prime examples. the status quo can only be changed if the change is preferred by the new veto player. a rejection of a bill transferring some aspects of national sovereignty to an international organization is only valid if at least 30 percent of the voters having participated at the last election reject the bill. since the citizens having failed to vote were obviously in favor (Mockli. In the Italian case the question is asked by parliament. are the main examples.

but one can address it easily by adding these costs in the calculations. let us assume that a referendum has no political costs for the agenda-setter. Figure 3 illustrates that a majority of voters will not be worse off due to required referendums. most likely B. But any policy not belonging to W H (SQ). We ®rst consider veto player referendums in which a veto player may trigger a referendum. Obviously. Tsebelis. Despite these considerable variations we limit ourselves in this paper to explore the consequences of referendums of various types under the assumption of simple majority requirements. For instance.g. but the normal legislative procedures leads to the formulation of the ballot question. Thus if B and C are veto players and can trigger a referendum. and even more so if this veto player may also formulate the referendum question. or different even when the win-sets are the same. In terms of actual outcomes. but certainly C would trigger a referendum which would result in the rejection of the new policy by the voters. if the legislative process led to an outcome in the small petal of the win-set to the lower right. Then we move on to the case where the same veto player formulates the question and triggers the referendum. In countries with no turnout criterion the veto player is simply formed by the collectivity of participating voters. 2002). This obviously gives considerable leeway to the veto player who may trigger a referendum. In a purely representative system the policy outcome would belong to the win-set of the status quo W(SQ). they can be identical even when the win-sets differ. Let us focus on Figure 3 and see under what conditions different veto players actually would call for a referendum. some form of quali®ed majority of voters makes the decision. the voters' win-set of the status quo is open for a referendum challenge. Veto player Referendums From the previous discussion it becomes clear that only under extremely rare conditions would the possible outcomes of the two processes (the win-sets of representative democracy and referendums) be identical. because required referendums rule out elements of the parliamentary win-set that are worse than the status quo for a majority of voters. In order to simplify our calculations. In countries with a turnout requirement. this is an incorrect assumption. the referendum threat will lead to the adoption of a policy in the intersection of the two .480 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) model can easily accommodate such differences in majority requirements (e. They simply affect the nature of the veto player introduced by referendums. Under this assumption our model predicts that policies in issue areas subject to required referendums will belong to the intersection of the parliamentary win-set (W(SQ) in Figure 3) and the voters' win-set (W H (SQ) in Figure 3).

15.14 For the case in which the veto player triggers a referendum and asks the question we will consider the two different cases of `parliamentary' and `presidential' systems (stable coalition of parties A. radius jY H À SQj). Note that there is no point that all three parties A. we will cover it later. then the outcome in the small petal of the win-set to the lower right will not be challenged in a referendum. and trigger a referendum for any point further away than AH . In each of these cases we consider two possible agenda-setters: party A and party E (the ®rst is part of the parliamentary system government. B and C in the ®rst case and any coalition of three of A. There is only one possible coalition that can approve points inside the (A.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 481 win-sets W(SQ) and W H (SQ). In the case of a `parliamentary' system with A.16 Given that both A and E are located outside W H (SQ) they can achieve the points AH and E H respectively when they control the referendum agenda. We include this counterfactual case (see Figure 6) in order to show the underlying strategic calculations under all possible con®gurations. C. . We have nothing to say about these negotiations. whether they exist in actual political systems or not. B and C prefer to AH because AH is in the unanimity core of A. which is the best outcome the referendum agendasetter can achieve (AH is the intersection of the line AY H ) with the circle (center Y H . 16. AAH ). D and E. Consequently A has to select this coalition in order to get an outcome which is preferred over AH (preferably A?). Since this scenario is only possible in a popular veto. If several parties (say `the government') control the referendum agenda they will have to negotiate among them what proposal they will make. Figure 5 presents exactly the same con®guration of players as Figure 3 and identi®es the point AH . Note also that E is not a veto-player. D. E form a coalition. AA') circle: A. The question is: Can indirect democracy offer to the referendum agenda-setters a more attractive alternative? In order to answer this question we have to calculate the win-set of these two points W(AH ) (see Figure 5) and W(E H ) (see Figure 6). Actors will select points that they think are inside W H (SQ) but they may be wrong in which case the voters will reject the proposal. Out of this win-set A will consider only the points included in the circle (A. since player A can introduce a referendum and obtain AH as the outcome. except that feasible outcomes have to be within W H (SQ). for instance if A.15 Under complete information the referendum agenda-setter is guaranteed to get his/her most preferred point from the popular win-set of the status quo (W H (SQ) in the picture). In our idealized `presidential' system this is what will happen. B and C in government the situation is more complicated. B. D and E in the second). We consider that agenda-setting belongs to single parties. If B and C are not veto-players who can trigger a referendum. 14. because then it is easy to identify the proposal that they will make. Figure 5 also identi®es the win-set of AH instead of W(SQ). In the absence of complete information such precise calculations are impossible. the second is not). B and C.

These calculations lead to three possible outcomes: (1) government ABC remains in power and adopts AH without a referendum.482 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Figure 5. Possible Outcomes When A Controls the Referendum Agenda A has to choose between keeping the government in place or leading a government to resign. (3) the government resigns. or they might prefer to delegate their disagreement to a referendum. Similarly. parties B and C may offer to approve outcome AH and avoid a referendum. (2) government ABC remains in power and AH is adopted by referendum. and is replaced by another coalition which selects a feasible point from W(AH ). .

In the case that any coalition is possible (the `presidential' system). EE H ) circle: (ABE). but also when agenda-setting belonged to an existing veto player (the case of A). . but assumes that player E can introduce a referendum. Instead of calculating W(SQ) we were basing our calculations on what the referendum agendasetter could obtain (points AH or E H ). D and E may prefer a new coalition government. These mental experiments lead to the following conclusions. s/he cancels other veto players as such. In addition. for some reason. was a more ¯exible system than a parliamentary one. First. in the UK the referendum on participation in the EU had this special treatment because both parties were divided and could not handle the issue without serious damage to their unity (Bogdanor. so identi®es the win-set of point E H instead of SQ. For example. If the parties in government want to stick together. and (CDE). Consequently E has to select one of the available coalitions. E could use his/her advantage of referendum agendasetting to try to negotiate a different government: indeed.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 483 Figure 6 presents exactly the same con®guration of players as before. EE H ) can be considered. This is a very different analysis than the one presented by referendum advocates who consider referendums the expression of the will of the people (see earlier quote by Rousseau). players A. where the existing government coalition was unable to adapt to the new policy environment generated by the referendum not only when a non-veto player controlled the agenda (case of E being the agenda-setter). Given these calculations. they want to avoid a referendum) can assure the referendum agenda-setter that they will do anything in their power to make the legislative process end up in an area that is at least as good for him/her as the result of a referendum. the position of referendum agenda-setter translates into signi®cant policy advantages: if a veto player controls the referendum agenda. 2001). E will trigger a referendum and the government will lose. strategically thinking parties in the legislature (particularly if. E will select his own ideal point supported by (ADE). In the counterfactual case of a `parliamentary' system with (ABC) in government the situation would be more complicated. because E would prefer to trigger a referendum than to accept a point further away than E H . 1994). where parties can shift coalitions on the basis of the subject matter under consideration. we saw that a presidential system. In all these calculations some previous existing veto players lose their ability to participate in political decision-making. Out of this win-set only the points included in the circle (E. A parliamentary system can produce similar outcomes by delegating a political issue to a referendum and leaving it outside the political con¯ict of the main parties. Second (and this is a consequence of the ®rst). the legislative outcomes of representative democracy are altered if referendums are possible (Gerber and Hug. (ADE). There are three possible coalitions that can approve points inside the (E.

Possible Outcomes When E Controls the Referendum Agenda .484 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Figure 6.

If an actor prefers the status quo to the proposed policy and has the capacity to trigger a referendum. in the ®rst Danish referendum on the Maastricht Treaty referred to earlier the status quo corresponded simply to the arrangements under the Single European Act (SEA). 1993). we have dealt with referendums where the question was asked by existing veto players. popular vetoes allow non-veto players to force a return to the status quo ante. Now we focus on referendums delegating agendasetting powers to the winner of a competitive process. it can ensure that the outcome will remain the status quo. An illustrative example in this respect is the ®rst Danish Maastricht referendum. suggesting that this treaty was not in the win-set of the status quo. For instance. In this case the status quo ante is quite different from the one enforced by the Danish voters. Popular Initiative So far. This example also illustrates that members of parliaments may launch a popular veto simply by voting against a bill. the Italian referendum that struck any reference to proportional representation from the electoral law for the Senate (Newell and Bull. Hence. led to a situation where the senators had to be elected by majority rule. If this is not the case. In Figure 3 this would suggest that in the parliamentary arena a policy is adopted which lies outside W H (SQ). a minority exceeding one-sixth of the members of parliament voted against the Maastricht Treaty and forced a referendum. As the ®rst referendum showed. If different groups can become agenda-setters (both asking the question and triggering) of a referendum by winning the right to present their question to the electorate (signature collection) the legislative outcome will depend on how competitive the 17. provided that s/he prefers the status quo to the policy adopted. While a large majority accepted the Maastricht Treaty in the rati®cation debates. . For instance.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 485 Popular Veto If popular vetoes are possible. a majority of the Danish voters also preferred the status quo to the Maastricht Treaty. the outcome of the legislative process has to lead to policies contained in the win-set of the status quo de®ned by the voters. the mechanisms of such votes correspond perfectly to popular vetoes (Table 2). an actor may trigger a referendum. the set of policies the voters prefer to the status quo. How this status quo ante is de®ned may differ quite considerably. Provided that a rejection by a quali®ed minority automatically triggers a referendum. In other cases the status quo ante is more complex.17 This minority in parliament evidently preferred the status quo to the Maastricht Treaty.

486 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) selection process is. which often rely on paid signature collectors. These criteria comprise the number of signatures of citizens required to qualify the ballot. . If. We have to repeat here that the radius of the yolk is assumed 0. She argues that given the hurdles a group has to cross to qualify a proposal. If some of the potential agenda-setters (particularly the ones with preferences similar to the `as if ' median voter) are excluded from the process. we have to focus on the process of selecting the agendasetter and assess how competitive it is. then the remaining ones may be more extreme and the legislative outcome may be further away from the preferences of this voter. such a process is a competitive one and one can expect that the outcome will be located close to the preferences of the median voter. etc. Gerber (1999) links this with the notion that popular initiatives are launched either by broadly based citizen groups or special interest groups. broadly based citizen groups. otherwise the selection of a point that is further from the center of the yolk than the status quo by up to 2r could not be excluded. will ®nd suf®cient support in the population to allow volunteers to collect enough signatures. it is possible that organized groups with ideal points far away from the median voter are also able to participate. i. Consequently. how much time the quali®cation process can take. This simply because only moderate proposals. the selected outcome has to be closer to the preferences of the median voter than the status quo. Special interest groups.e. which will collect signatures in part or mostly through volunteers. may make either moderate or more extreme proposals. and initiatives that do not have enough volunteers are unlikely to be supported by a majority. As a consequence of this analysis. demands that are supported by a majority of the population are likely to get the volunteers necessary for their placement on the ballot. Consequently. for example. however. despite the fact that the `as 18. in which case the selection process for agenda-setting may translate into outcomes away from the preferences of the median voter. proposals close to the center of the yolk. All these elements thus create hurdles a group has to cross. which means that the process will converge towards the preferences of the `median voter'. This selection obviously depends on the criteria for the quali®cation of a ballot measure. what is requested for an issue to be placed on the ballot is signature selection by remunerated professionals. if. then.18 So. again. In all cases. If all potential players are included in the selection process the only way that one can select proposals that will not only defeat the status quo but other proposals as well is to make proposals that are supported by a majority. will mostly submit moderate proposals. depending on how strongly they feel about a particular policy. what is required is signature selection by volunteers.

19 provides information on the institutions present in the countries around the world. Second. A major criterion in this classi®cation distinguishes between required and non-required referendums. none relate this information with the notion of veto player which in our analysis is crucial for understanding the relationship between referendums and representative democracy.unige. For instance. Both predictions relate closely to the concerns in the general literature on referendums. Gabon. the Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy (http://c2d. the result depends crucially on the preferences of the agenda-setter. Among them 32 explicitly refer to required referendums for constitutional changes. namely Congo. Mali. even more importantly. In Table 1 we list all countries that have provisions for required referendums and explain the issues subject to such referendums as well as the date of the constitution consulted. it also shows that referendums affect considerably policy outcomes. While various studies provide partial information about the institutions allowing for referendums. Suksi (1993: 138. but updated it considerably. Similarly. adapting it to the needs of our classi®cation presented in Figure 4. 142) ®nds that in 56 out of his 160 analyzed constitutions there appear references to referendums on constitutional amendments. Singapore. before discussing in more detail our predictions and how they relate to empirical studies on referendums. and . But both these sources do not directly provide information on whether or not veto players trigger a referendum and formulate the question. We provide this information in Tables 1 and 2 in the Appendix. the median voter) are never worse off having provisions for referendums. so they do not provide the crucial information identi®ed in Figure 4. namely in such a fashion that voters (i. affect the potential for policy change. Institutions for Referendums and Their Policy Consequences Our model makes predictions in two related domains. Thus. we provide information on provisions for referendums in constitutions of countries around the world. Senegal. But our predictions are of a much sharper nature. it shows how referendums.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 487 if' median voter makes the ®nal decision. Six other constitutions introduce a required referendum for international treaties. provided we have information on the institutional rules regulating referendums and. by introducing a new veto player and possibly eliminating existing ones. Suksi (1993) presents information for most countries on whether their constitutions have provisions for referendums and classi®es them according to his dichotomous criteria. In collecting this information we relied heavily on Suksi's (1993) work. First. can determine clearly the identity of the actors able to trigger a referendum and to ask the question.e.

combined with the insights from our model allow us to qualify claims prevalent in the literature on referendums which discuss the policy and stability-inducing effects of referendums. In addition. 1993: 143). Auer and Butzer. . Neidhart (1970). As our theoretical model clearly indicates. . While several other sources also provide lists of provisions allowing for referendums. Reviewing the evidence of whether referendums have a conservative bias. Predominantly. have been an occasional remedy. . Lesage. With respect to the stability-inducing effects of referendums. The information contained in Tables 1 and 2.g. it is this information which is crucial to assess the effect of institutions allowing for referendums. however.20 We use this information to determine whether a veto player or a non-veto player may trigger a referendum and formulate the question to be submitted to the voters. These differences in assessment relate directly to the ®ndings based on our model.488 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Overall we identify 54 constitutions containing provisions for required referendums. Again. Gallagher (1996: 237) comes to the conclusion that there is no clear evidence in support of this view nor its counterpart. for instance. While this stability enhancing effect is present in all types of referendums Zaire (Suksi. 20. and generally a moderate remedy.'. . For all these countries we determined the relevant articles in the constitution to determine the exact procedures for holding such referendums. Cronin (1989: 222). suggests that `direct democracy devices . we checked all constitutions of countries from Eastern and Central Europe to determine whether they had provisions for nonrequired referendums. Given that countries in Eastern and Central Europe (e. 2001) adopted È new constitutions in the 1990s. For each of these countries we consulted the most recent constitution and report the detailed procedures that lead to a required referendum in Table 1. for legislative lethargy . the literature is replete with examples and discussions. Only a few constitutions contain provisions for popular vetoes or popular initiatives. 21. often with provisions for referendums. we also systematically consulted these constitutions and list provisions for required referendums in these countries in Table 1.21 Table 2 illustrates the wide variety that exists in the institutional provisions allowing for non-required referendums. discusses in detail the case of Switzerland. none of them identi®es the actor triggering a referendum and formulating the question for the voters in terms of veto-players. The number of constitutions allowing for non-required referendums (Table 2) is slightly smaller (47). 1995. we used Suksi's (1993) work to identify all countries that had non-required referendums according to the constitutions he consulted. . we ®nd that existing veto players may trigger a referendum and retain absolute control over the agenda. Generally speaking. For all of these 47 countries we provide detailed information on who may trigger a referendum and the identity of the actors who ask the question. for which he argues that the popular veto has made policy changes very dif®cult. referendums introduce an additional veto player into the political game and thus diminish the potential for policy change.

countries having provisions allowing for the popular initiative may see the potential for policy change actually increase. Philippines. to the chagrin of most elected of®cials. but the supreme court allowed the referendums to go forward which resulted in a considerable overhaul of the constitution. this comes about because the power to set the agenda in these referendums is vested in an actor who is not a veto player in the normal legislative game. Moldova. giving the president increased powers. Strictly speaking. Latvia. our model also identi®es the cases that lead to the elimination of veto players: if the same player (whether an existing veto player (veto player referendums) or not (popular initiatives)) controls both triggering and asking the question. they cancel out the powers of existing veto players. which Swiss voters adopted 20 February 1994. A case in point is a constitutional amendment in favor of protecting the Alpine region against automotive traf®c through the Alps. 1997). This constitutional amendment basically ruled out the construction of any additional roads crossing the Alpine regions. First. Again. for instance environmental protection. if a subset of the normal legislative veto players can both trigger a referendum and ask the question. Switzerland and the Ukraine. it is hardly surprising that few constitutions contain provisions for such referendums. in a veto player referendum. Liechtenstein. This new 22. If citizens can submit their own policy proposals and trigger a referendum. including the power to launch a referendum on any question he chooses. is the popular initiative.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 489 of our classi®cation (Figure 4). which might lead to increased traf®c through or across the Alps. and thus not necessarily decreasing the potential for policy change.22 Proposals for increasing the president's powers would never have been passed in parliament. but many of these provisions. But Lukashenka appealed over the heads of the parliament to the Belarusian voters and changed policy in an area where representative democracy would not have produced any change. namely political parties. Given that this increase comes about through reducing the power of the legislative veto players. Slovakia. 11 constitutions23 allow for such referendums. the constitution in force required the parliament to agree to a referendum. The following countries have such provisions: Belarus. then this cancels out the remaining veto players in the legislative arena (other parties in government). Thus. 23. Lithuania. In several policy domains. At the national level Switzerland uses such popular initiatives most frequently. The effect of such powers clearly transpired in the referendums in 1996 in which President Lukashenka broke a stalemate with parliament (Stone. this institution is credited with having triggered signi®cant policy changes. The other type of referendum eliminating existing veto players. . Slovenia. have hardly been used. mostly in East European countries. Georgia. Overall. An example for this type of referendum is the provision of Belarus' constitution allowing the President to trigger a referendum and to ask any question.

A partial exception to this stability enhancing effect of popular vetoes appears with the practice in Italy labeled referendum abrogativo. Article 75 allows for referendums on enacted laws. Thus. Bilateral agreements between the EU and Switzerland were negotiated in the aftermath of Swiss citizens' rejection of the European Economic Area. to some degree. Similarly. 2000). More precisely. popular vetoes often also apply to policy areas that are of central importance. for instance. obviously. such as the one leading to the negative outcome in the ®rst referendum on the Maastricht Treaty (e. the government of Giuliano Amato resigned and the resigning prime minister proclaimed the end of the ®rst Republic (Newell and Bull. As a consequence of this referendum. Often required referendums apply to constitutional amendments.g. a treaty concluded between countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the EU. Konig and Hug.3 percent of all members of parliament for bills involving transfers of powers to supranational organizations. . allowing referendums on elements of these packages also reduces. the power of the parliamentary veto players. and at the time of writing EU member countries were in the process of ratifying these agreements. and thus these provisions decrease the potential for policy change. In some sense it was the culmination of the radical changes that the Italian political system had undergone since the thorough judicial investigations of the partitocrazia carried out under the label of mani pulite. changes in borders. transfer of powers to international organizations etc. 24. Thus.24 The remaining types of referendums. provisions for such popular È vetoes decrease the potential for policy change. as the opt-outs negotiated by the Danish Government after the Maastricht referendum clearly illustrate. parliamentary minorities of at least one-sixth can force a referendum vote. namely the required referendum and the popular veto. Most observers were surprised by the outcome since it endangered in part the delicate negotiations with the European Union on bilateral agreements and transport. 1993: 607). Tables 1 and 2 suggest that this decrease in the potential for policy change might re¯ect the wishes of the framers of the constitution.490 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) constitutional amendment originated in a signature petition proposing this change to the constitution. For such policies. it is desirable to have a limited potential for change. leave the powers of the veto players in the representative arena untouched. but also allows for the elimination of parts of laws. the Danish constitution in article 20 requires a majority of 83. Swiss voters accepted the bilateral agreements on 5 May 2000. Since laws are often artful packages. the referendum largely eliminated proportional representation from the election of the senate. Again. A clear case in point is the Italian referendum of 19 April 1993 with which the Italian voters canceled a disposition in the electoral rules employed for the election of the senate.

The countries listed in Table 2. Of the 13 referendums submitted to the court in 1993. Elections became much less proportional and the plurality element came to predominate. Our analysis suggests that provisions for referendums generally lead to policies more closely related to the preferences of the voters. only 10 were allowed to proceed. only if the institutional rules allow parts of a bill to be struck down in a referendum may the popular veto increase the potential for policy change. the turnout has to exceed 50 percent. policy stability never decreases. its consequences were considerable. Parliament.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 491 The investigations started by prosecutors from Milan divulged the massive corruption of the Italian party system. 1993). referendum challenges face two important hurdles. But this reduced policy stability is only to be expected if the agenda-setting in the referendum process is either in the hands of non-veto players or a subset of the veto players. Our model suggests clear links between institutions and potential for policy change. often reduce the number of relevant veto players and thus mostly have reduced policy stability. Second. indicates where we would expect referendums to lead to increased policy stability (only in the policy areas where such referendums are possible). Apart from predicting various degrees of stability as a function of the precise institutions allowing for referendums. While the information provided in Table 2 would allow for much more stringent . went into action and overhauled the election laws in their entirety (D'Alimonte and Chiaramonte. While the adopted referendum only struck a paragraph from the electoral law for the senate. However. for a referendum outcome to be decisive. Only after these changes did alternation between two major ideological blocks became possible. Reformist forces attempted through numerous referendums to force changes in the Italian system. Table 1. by allowing non-required referendums to occur. Referendums in Italy allow citizens to collect signatures to force a vote on most legislation and parts of it. Given that the potential for policy change differs under the various types of institutions allowing for referendums. according to the exact institutional provisions and which actors (veto players or nonveto players) the latter empower to set the referendum agenda. and a yes vote of 82. which already had attempted unsuccessfully to fend off the referendum by adopting its own changes. long after it has been adopted (Table 2). First.73 percent. On 19 April 1993 this threshold was easily passed with a turnout of 77 percent. however. Thus. The effects of referendums differ. they have to be accepted by the constitutional court. Depending on the precise institutional provisions referendums may increase or decrease policy stability. Gallagher's (1996: 237) mixed assessment of the conservative bias of referendums is perfectly understandable. our model also links these institutions to policy consequences. If only entire laws can be struck down. by listing all countries with required referendums.

to a lesser extent. existing empirical analyses of the policy consequences of referendums largely omit the effects that different con®gurations of veto players may have. Similar effects appear in Gerber and Hug (2001) for a series of policies aiming at protecting minorities. (1999) review in detail these studies. lower de®cits. etc. Kirchgassner et al. 2000) proÈ vides discussion of the literature on the American states. that in states with the popular initiative the policies adopted correspond more closely to the voters' preferences than in states without the initiative. they only indirectly test propositions related to the theoretical conclusions of this paper. studies have attempted or succeeded in demonstrating empirically the effect of such referendums on policy outcomes in cross-national analyses. Several studies show that initiative states (and cantons) have lower tax burdens. and still weaker is the relationship in states with no non-required referendums. Most closely related to the theoretical insights discussed in this paper are Hug's (1999) empirical results. provisions for popular referendums lead to policies closer to the voters' ideal-point. Thus we can only relate our predictions with respect to policy consequences on the basis of the classi®cation of referendums presented in Figure 4. Only in the work by Lascher et al.25 Since voter preferences do not enter directly into these empirical models. Only partly related to this work attempting to demonstrate the effect of voter preferences on policy outcomes is the literature dealing with the effect of provisions for referendums on economic outcomes. (1996) and Camobreco (1998) do authors report evidence counter to our theoretical results. convincingly challenges the empirical strategies that these authors employ. Despite this limitation the predictions based on our model strongly resonate with most of the empirical evidence from systematic studies on the policy effects of referendums. few. 25. Replicating and extending Gerber's (1999) work. namely laws on parental consent for teenage abortion and the death penalty. 1999) shows for two policies. Given that provisions for popular initiatives were present only in a handful of countries at the national level. and Matsusaka (1995. both in the United States and Switzerland. In studies focusing on the effect of institutional provisions at the subnational level. if any. he demonstrates that the voters' preferences are the most closely re¯ected in the presence or absence of the death penalty in states that allow for popular initiatives. Gerber (1996. . however. Matsusaka (2001).492 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) empirical tests of our theoretical predictions. The relationship between voter preferences and policy outcome in states with the popular veto is weaker. the results suggest that provisions for popular initiatives and.

In order to deal with all these variations in assessments and approaches. so successful policy choices have to be located inside the set of preferences of the median voter. paradoxes and inadequacies in outcomes. the introduction of the mere possibility of a referendum shifts the outcomes of legislative politics closer to the population median. the median voter of the population (or a very close approximation of it. In addition. Agenda-setting in referendums is divided in two parts. which identi®es the individual or collective actors that are required to agree for a change of the status quo. On the basis of veto player theory. Empirical studies corroborate this expectation. we introduced a multi-dimensional model which enabled us to understand and explain all these discrepancies. for others the connection between popular will and referendum outcome cannot be established. controlled or uncontrolled).HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 493 Conclusion The purpose of this paper was to organize our understanding of referendums and the institutions that regulate them in a theoretically consistent and empirically accurate way. even the theoretical approaches come to different conclusions depending on the dimensionality of the underlying space: singledimensional approaches can calculate the results of a referendum as a function of the preferences of different actors. the center of the yolk of the population). Finally. we concluded that referendums introduce one additional veto player. Viewing referendums as the introduction of one additional veto player in a political system leads to the prediction that the stability of outcomes increases.or anti-hegemonic. . On the basis of our analysis the institutions regulating agenda-setting in referendums signi®cantly affect the possible outcomes. We saw that the overall assessments of referendums have been controversial: for some authors referendums are the expression of popular will. a circle very well approximates the outer bound on outcomes that are preferred over the status quo by this new veto player. We also saw that classi®cations of referendums do not use the same criteria. On the basis of our model. Our model was based on the theory of veto players. The reason is that legislative outcomes that would replace the status quo by a point that the median voter dislikes more than the status quo can immediately be defeated by a referendum. The other major consequence of our model is the identi®cation of the institutions that shape not only referendum outcomes. and that some of these criteria are based on strategic considerations (like who takes the initiative) while others are based on obscure principles (pro. The ®rst is who triggers the referendum (required referendum. but also the outcomes of the legislative game when referendums are possible. as if the millions of voters participating in a referendum were a simple individual. multi-dimensional approaches stress cycles.

In particular. The second is who asks the question (veto player. We believe that the differences in assessments of referendums existing in the literature (as discussed in the introduction of this article) can be attributed to the differences in agendasetting processes. At the empirical level. On the basis of the answers in these two questions referendums are divided into four different categories: required referendums (where the question is asked by veto players).494 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) existing veto player or non-veto player). . the information provided in Table 2 on the veto players in control of the referendum agenda in non-required referendums allows for much more precise predictions of the policy consequences. as Hug (1999) shows. people who like referendums assume a competitive popular initiative process. constitutional framers should balance well between different institutional provisions for referendums and the costs they wish to impose on possible users of these institutions. Institutions allowing for referendums to be triggered by veto players or non-veto players lead to policies that re¯ect more closely the voters' preferences. Thus. this stronger effect diminishes quite considerably as the signature requirement increases. While existing empirical research lends some credence to our theoretical model. The more agenda-setting is divided. the more likely that competition among the different actors involved may lead the referendum results to approximate the preferences of the median voter. But decreasing signature requirements also corresponds with an increasing number of referendums. For this reason. More precisely. non-veto player). but veto players ask the question). popular vetoes (non-veto players trigger. The strongest additional effect of voter preferences on policy outcomes appears under institutional provisions allowing for popular initiatives. veto player referendums (veto players both trigger and ask the question of the referendum). even on multi-dimensional issues. Such stringent tests would give constitutional framers much more material on which to base their decision whether to introduce provisions for referendums in new constitutions. existing systematic studies largely support the theoretical implications we derive. future research should carry out more stringent tests. People who dislike referendums pay attention to the question of who controls the agenda of a referendum and why this actor triggered it. and popular initiatives (non-veto players both trigger and ask the question). However. if provisions for referendums cancel out other veto players our model would predict policy outcomes much more heavily in¯uenced by the veto player in control of the referendum agenda. popular initiative institutions should be studied on the basis of by whom and under what conditions issues can be placed on the ballot.

44. 128. 8. or the amendment refers to the powers of the National Assembly or to the rights and duties established in the constitution Art. 28. 47.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 495 APPENDIX Table 1. which provides for the amendment of the Preamble or any provisions of Art. constitutional amendments. 56. 135. for the association of the Republic of Croatia in alliances with other states. 89. 189. two-thirds of all the members of the House must approve amendment Art. total revision of constitution after adoption in Lower House and absence of objection in Upper House Art. after passage in Parliament by a two-thirds majority vote Art. 42. 142. constitutional amendments. changes in the voting age. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments to Ch. after two-thirds (three-quarters for some Articles) majorities in both Houses adopted amendment Art. 95 or 142 Art. a bill. after passage by Parliament Art. constitutional amendments. 172. provided the constitution is completely revised. Required Referendums Around the World Country Constitutional Provision for Required Referendum Constitution Used (revised) 1981 Antigua-Barbuda Australia Art. 137. law must be passed 1901 by an absolute majority of each House of the Parliament or by one House of Parliament and submitted by the governor-general Art. exchange or addition of territory proposed by the president must be adopted by referendum Art. constitutional amendments. after passage by two separately elected Parliaments Art. after approval by two-thirds of the members of the Assembly 1929 1973 Austria Bahamas Bangladesh 1996 Botswana Colombia Congo 1966 1991 (2001) 1979 (1992) Croatia 1990 Cuba 1976 Denmark 1953 Dominica Egypt 1978 1980 continued on next page . passed by two-thirds majorities. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments. 48. international treaties for cession. 377. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments. 54. after approval by a three-quarters majority in Parliament Art. 1 of Title II. after vote by two-thirds in National Assembly. after passage by two-thirds majority in the Assembly Art. 94[0r]. 88. after passage in Parliament Art.

496 El Salvador Gabon Gambia Grenada JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Art. constitutional amendments. if they involve territorial changes Art. or addition of territory. constitutional amendments. initiated in the Diet and after passage by two-thirds majorities in both Houses Art. 120 changes of borders or association with or dissociation from a union. constitutional amendments. 39. after adoption of 1964 amendment to certain articles of the constitution by Parliament continued on next page . international treaties. 62 Art. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 1. after passage by two-thirds of the members of the House. after passage by Parliament of an amendment to the status of the Church under Art. after passage by two-thirds majorities in both Houses Art. amendments to Art. constitutional amendments. 6. or 77 of the Constitution. after passage by two-thirds majorities in both Houses Art. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments. after passage by Parliament Art. Chs 1 and 14 of the constitution. constitutional amendments on the creation of a Central American republic after passage by Parliament Art. after a two-thirds vote to amend constitution in the National Assembly Art. 4. 164. 79. 113. 74. 148. 49. constitutional amendments. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. after passage by Parliament with two-thirds majority 1983 1975 (1991) 1970 (1996) 1974 Guatemala 1985 Guyana 1980 Iceland 1944 Ireland Jamaica Japan 1937 1962 1964 Kiribati Korea. South Latvia 1979 1987 1922 (1998) Liberia Lithuania 1984 1992 Macedonia 1991 Mali Malta Art. constitutional amendments. 2. after majority of Parliament has approved amendment to certain parts of the constitution Art. 226. 130. 76. after passage by a two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. amendments to Art. 91. 280. 66. initiated in the Lower House and after passage in both Houses Art. 173. 96. 1. constitutional amendments. 3. constitutional amendments. international treaties. amendments to some sections of the constitution have to be adopted in a referendum Art. treaties involving 1974 (1991) surrender. 46. 69. after passage by three-quarters majority in Assembly Art. after passage by a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly Art. 89. 77. constitutional amendments. 115. constitutional amendments. exchange.

II. constitutional amendments. international treaties. regarding 1994 the sovereignty. 108. entering a state alliance after passage of a constitutional law by three-®fths in Parliament Art. or congress may submit the proposal for such a convention by a simple majority to the people Art. constitutional amendments after passage by majorities in both chambers Art. which may be called by a two-thirds majority of congress. 7. constitutional amendments. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. constitutional amendments. after passage by both chambers by two-thirds majority.HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 497 Mauritius Art. after passage by three-quarters majority in Assembly Art. Ch. surrendering of Singapore police or armed forces after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 102 (territorial changes) Art. amendments to certain sections of constitution adopted by two-thirds majorities in Parliament Art. independence and unity of the state. 83. 77. constitutional amendments. changes to Art. 47. 84. 142. constitutional amendments. 290. 168. international treaties. 57(2) 1985 require referendum and then passage by unanimity in Assembly Art. by a three-quarters majority of members of both Chambers Art. 194. constitutional amendments to certain sections. international treaties. after passage by two separately elected Parliaments with two-thirds majorities in both Houses 1972 Moldova Morocco Myanmar-Burma Nauru Paraguay Philippines 1974 1968 1992 (2000) 1987 Romania 1991 Samoa 1960 (1962) Senegal Sierra Leone Singapore 1963 (1989) 1978 (1991) 1963 Slovakia 1992 Spain 1978 continued on next page . after passage by a two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 6. or Title II. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments. after passage by a two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 105. 147. 104. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament of an amendment to Art. 141. constitutional amendments. 143. constitutional amendments. constitutional amendments after adoption of constitutional change by both Houses by two-thirds majorities Art. or in case of disagreement. total revision or partial revision of the preliminary title. as well as those regarding the permanent neutrality of the state. 109. after being proposed by a three-quarters majority of congress or a constitutional convention. after President proposes territorial changes Art. 5. Section 1 of Title I. XVII.

Suksi (1993: 142±3).498 Sri Lanka St Christopher and Nevis St Lucia St Vincent Switzerland JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Art. Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy (http://c2d. accessed November 2000) and Auer and Butzer (2001) È .ch/. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 140.unige. constitutional amendments. after passage by both Houses of Parliament Art. 345. after adoption by three-quarters majority in Parliament Art. constitutional amendments. after adoption by the House by a two-thirds majority Art. 38. constitutional amendments. 101. constitutional amendments. 38. 86. international treaties. 1997 exchange or annexation of territories after rati®cation by President and adoption of constitutional law. 156. 41. after passage by a majority in Parliament. 200. constitutional amendments. amendments to Chs I. Kurian (1998). adopted by two-thirds majorities in both chambers. also adopted by two-thirds majorities in both chambers Sources: Blaustein and Flanz (1971±). after the proposal is accepted by a majority in both Houses 1977 1983 1979 1979 2000 Ukraine 1996 Vanuatu 1979 Venezuela Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo) 1999 Art. constitutional amendments. III and XIII of the constitution. provided two-thirds of the members are present Art. 77 after passage by two-thirds majority of all MPs Art. after passage by two-thirds majority in Parliament Art. 263. urgent executive orders in con¯ict with constitution. international treaties that involve secession. constitutional amendments. and some constitutional amendments. amendments to Art.

for legislative matter Parliament. 111. constitutional amendments Argentina Art. 150.000 voters One-®fth of members of Parliament Congress Who Triggers Existing Veto-player Constitution Used (Revised) Albania Art. laws Art. 44 (1) Constitutional laws or constitutional provisions contained in simple laws can be passed by the House of Representatives only in the presence of at least half the members and by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast. (2) Any total revision of the Federal Constitution shall 1929 1853 (1998) 1995 1998 Non-veto player Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player 50. Government One-third of lower house Art. Agenda-setters and Triggers in Non-required Referendums Agenda-setter Existing Veto player Parliament Two-thirds majorities in Parliament House of Deputies President in agreement with the majority of the Parliament. 112. they shall be explicitly speci®ed as such. for constitutional amendment continued on next page . al. the Parliament Armenia Art. 177. 40. Government HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 499 Austria Art.Table 2. for constitutional matters Art. 44. 3. the Parliament Parliament. laws Parliament President in agreement with the majority of the Parliament.

43.Table 2. Parliament (83 members out of 125) . whereas any partial revision requires this only if one-third of the members of the House of Representatives or the Senate so demands If the House of Representatives so decides or if the majority of members of the House of Representatives so demands. 109 President. 42 but before its authentication by the Federal President be submitted to a referendum by the entire nation. 42 but before its authentication by the Federal President President Parliament 1995 Non-veto player 500 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) Art. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player upon conclusion of the procedure pursuant to Art. for statute Majority of Lower House JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Azerbaijan Art. 95. every enactment of the House of Representatives shall be submitted to a referendum upon conclusion of the procedure pursuant to Art.

Parliament majority of both chambers President. 84 Congress Decision taken by the Parliament (National Assembly) Â Â President de la republique 1972 President on proposal of Government President or Parliament Constitutional amendment proposed by the two chambers Proposal by Government Proposal by 5% of citizens 1986 (1996) 1989 President of the Republic Majorities in both chambers 1991 (2001) HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 501 Cameroon Art. 63. 84 Art. the President or the one-third of the MPs government. 49 Bulgaria Art.000 in every region and the town of Minsk Congress Decision taken by the Parliament (National Assembly) Â Â President de la republique 1988 (1993) 1971 450. 26. for constitutional amendment Central African Republic Art.25%): at least 30. 155. bills Chile Art.000 nationals (6. 74 450. 135. association with other states President or Government. Parliament majority of both chambers 1996 Brazil Art. constitution Colombia Art. 36. Art. for important projects. 378: constitution Croatia Art. majority of preliminary decision on two-thirds of the MPs Proposed by at least one-third Proposed by at least 1998 of the MPs.000 in every region and the town of Minsk President.Belarus Art.25%): at least 30. 117.000 nationals (6. 74. preliminary decision on association/separation taken by majority of two-thirds of the continued on next page total number of MPs .

constitutional amendment or important questions for the country President of the Republic 1984 . 20 delegation of powers international organizations President of the Republic 1953 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Ecuador Art. 104. decision taken by the President of the Republic with the countersignature of the President of the Government One third of MPs One sixth of MPs Bill has been passed by the Parliament Parliament Denmark Art. requested by the Government. decision taken by the Chamber of representatives. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player House of Representatives President of the Republic may. 81.Table 2. 42. bills Art. 80. at the proposal of the Government and with the countersignature of the Prime Minister Non-veto player 502 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) Art. 87 Proposed by the Chamber of comitats.

majority of MPs President 1995 200.Parliament Parliament President. 200. 162. 18 20. legislative Art. constitution President. 44. bills affecting the state and its institutions Art. 102. 74 Art. on proposition of Government or both chambers 1958 Parliament 1992 Three-®fths majority in Parliament President. 11.000 voters President President on proposal of government. President on proposal submitted by two-®fths of MPs and adopted by three-®fths majority 1975 HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 503 continued on next page . 105. President on proposal submitted by two-®fths of MPs and adopted by three-®fths majority Greece Art. constitutional amendments France Art. on proposition of government or both chambers President and the two chambers President Estonia Art. constitution 1975 (1997) President Gabon Art.000 citizens at least half of each chamber of the Parliament President on proposal of the Cabinet and an absolute majority of MPs. 89.000 citizens Georgia Art.2. questions of national importance President on proposal of the Cabinet and an absolute majority of MPs.

000 electors 1944 (1994) 1979 1937 Non-veto player 504 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player 1985 Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) Guatemala Art. President has the right to initiate national referendums Parliament Parliament President on proposal Lower House of majority of Senate and at least one-third of MPs of Lower House 500. constitutional amendments 1948 . President Iceland Art. 27 and 47. 173 Hungary Art. 26 President when he refuses to ratify a bill Iran Art. 30a Supreme electoral court on proposal of President or the congress Parliament. bills JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Italy Art. 138. laws Art. A majority of two-thirds of the votes of the MPs present is required to pass the law on national referenda. 75. 19. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player Parliament Parliament shall have the right to call a national referendum.000 voters or ®ve Both Chambers of Parliament regional councils Request is made by one Majorities in both Chambers ®fth of the members of either Chamber or by 500. 59 Two-thirds of MPs Ireland Art.Table 2.

a referendum must be held 1000 citizens 1000 citizens 1500 citizens or four communities Parliament Parliament 1000 citizens. if the Parliament amends it. a referendum must be held 1921 (1992) 1960 1998 Ivory Coast Art. laws Art. 72. 66. provided proposal has not been adopted by Parliament One-tenth at least of the voters can present a draft revision (completely elaborated) of the constitution to the President. 66. 64. 78. who submits it to the Parliament. Parliament provided law is not adopted by a threequarters majority One-tenth at least of the voters can present a draft revision (completely elaborated) of the constitution to the President. 66. constitution Liechtenstein Parliament Art. laws HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 505 Art. legislative President on accord from bureau National Assembly Art.or by ®ve regional Councils. 14 Latvia Art. constitutional amendments continued on next page . provided amendment has not been adopted by majorities of two-thirds in both Chambers President One-tenth of the voters. who submits it to the Parliament. 74. if the Parliament amends it.

74. 66. leaving supranational organization Majority of two-thirds of Deputies Proposed by the President of the Republic. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player 1500 citizens. 147. constitution Parliament 1992 300. onequarter of the Parliament. changing frontiers Art. 64.000 nationals.000 nationals 300. constitutional amendments Art. 73 Art. one quarter of the Parliament Majority of deputies 1991 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Macedonia Art.000 nationals. 66 bis. 1 or Chs 1 and 14 150.000 nationals Parliament Majority of two-thirds of Deputies Majority of two-thirds of the Deputies Parliament Parliament Lithuania Art. international treaties 300. the government or at least 40 Deputies. 68. laws Art. decision taken by majority of two-thirds of the Deputies .Table 2. 9. provided proposal has not been adopted by Parliament Non-veto player 506 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player 1500 citizens 1500 citizens Parliament Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) Art. 120. provided amendment deals with Art. entering.

constitution (provisions regarding the sovereignty. 69 (70) King. 141. Supreme Court 1989 (1996) continued on next page . one-third of the Parliament 1972 (1996) 1994 1974 (1992) President in the Council of Ministers Three-quarters majority of the members of the National Assembly and the Senate 1975 (1992) Mali Art.000 citizens (8. 49 President after consultation with President of National Assembly. amendment to constitution President President. as well as those regarding the permanent neutrality of the state) Government. laws President on proposal of the Cabinet or National Assembly President.5%) covering at least a half of the nation's districts and municipalities.5%) covering at least a half of the nation's districts and municipalities and in their turn each of those districts and municipalities must be represented by at least 5000 registered signers in support of the initiative. except if both Chambers have adopted law by two-thirds majorities President HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 507 Niger Art. 140. 88 Art. 41. 75. Parliament Moldova Art.000 citizens (8. President 200. President Morocco Art. 142. independence and unity of the state. one-third of the Parliament Cabinet Government. 66. and in their turn each of those districts and municipalities must be represented by at least 5000 registered signers in support of the initiative.Madagascar Art. Parliament 200.

Senate Art. on sovereignty President in agreement with the Senate. 2. referendum is required 10% of voters 12% of voters One-®fth of the Deputies 1993 Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) Peru Art. the Parliament (absolute majority. XVII. and by the Senate by an absolute majority of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Senators President in agreement with the Senate. II or XII of the constitution 1987 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Art. at least half of the Deputies being present) House of Representatives (Sejm) by a majority of at least twothirds of votes in the presence of at least half of the statutory number of Deputies. revision of Chs I. 90. VI. 32 Art. at least half of the Deputies being present) . 235. constitutional amendment Poland President.Table 2. 125. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player Constitutional amendments adopted by absolute majority in congress Parliament 10% of voters 12% of voters 1989 (1997) Non-veto player 508 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player If amendments are not adopted by two-thirds majorities. 144 Art. the Parliament (absolute majority. 206 constitution Philippines Art.

96.000 voters. or threequarters majority in joint session Russia Art. or three-quarters majority in joint session President Parliament 1993 1963 (1999) President 1991 Art. 46. constitution . onethird of Deputies 30 Deputies National Assembly National Assembly Government 1989 40. 93. 95. 102 1992 President declares the referendum if the National Council proposes resolution presented by the Deputies of the National Council or the Government At least 30 (out of 90) Deputies 40. 98. constitution President after having asked the Parliament's advice Two-thirds majorities in both Chambers. consultation with Assemblies. 20 Deputies continued on next page HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 509 Slovenia Art. 86. 169. 97 I. 84 President Senegal Art. 95.000 nationals sign petition Parliament Parliament 350. 168. Government 170. 90 II. 102 Art.000 nationals 30. bill President on proposal of Prime Minister. 170.000 nationals. constitution Art. 90 Two-thirds majorities in both Chambers. 146. Constitutional Court President declares the referendum if 350. 93.Romania Art.000 nationals Slovakia Art. legislative Art. 99 II.

104 Cabinet President One-tenth of the Riksdag on a bill propose motion.000 citizens If constitutional Two-thirds majority in amendment gets less Parliament than four-®fths and more than two-thirds in assembly 1979 (1992) . some international treaties Art. 101 Art. 141 Art. bills Art. 15 1975 2000 Upper and Lower House JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Switzerland Art. constitutional amendments subject to Art. which must be supported by one-third of MPs 50. 140. 141.Table 2.000 citizens Majority in Riksdag President. 144 100. continued Agenda-setter Existing Veto player Approved by more than two-thirds in Parliament Non-veto player 510 Country and Constitutional Provision Non-veto player Who Triggers Existing Veto player Constitution Used (Revised) 1977 (1988) Sri Lanka Art.000 citizens or 8 cantons Majorities in both Houses Upper and Lower House 100. 103. 103. if amendment is Supreme Court adopted by a majority larger than two-thirds Cabinet President Sweden Art. 193 Togo Art. 138.

Kurian (1998). Thibaut (2000).President may submit bill or a treaty to ratify President Three-®fths majority of the total number of members of the Assembly 1982 Tunisia Art.000 citizens (signatures collected in no less than two-thirds of the Oblasts.000 citizens (signatures collected in no less than two-thirds of the Oblasts. Suksi (1993). legislation for amending the constitution Parliament 3. with no less than 100. Parliament Uruguay Art.000 signatures in each Oblast) 10% of citizens or two-®fths of the Assembly may submit proposals 3.000 signatures in each Oblast) 10% of citizens or two-®fths of the Assembly may submit proposals 1967 (1996) (1996) National Assembly 1959 (1991) Ukraine Art. 72 II President. Trechsel (2000). 72 I Art.unige. accessed May 2000) and Auer and Butzer (2001). constitutional changes HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 511 Sources: Blaustein and Flanz (1971±).ch/. 47 Turkey Art.000. È . 331.000. Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy (http://c2d. 104. with no less than 100.

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(2000) `Initiative: Europe'.) Parliaments in Western Europe: Majority Rule and Minority Rights. New York: St Martin's Press. Referendums and European Integration (Lanham. He is the author of Altering Party Systems (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Gordon (1976) `The Functional Properties of the Referendum'. in H. referendums and federalism on decision-making and con¯ict resolution. George (1995a) `Decision Making in Political Systems: Veto Players in Presidentialism. George (1995b) `Veto Players and Law Production in Parliamentary Democracies'. Washington: Congressional Quarterly. Voices of Europe. 2002). Steunenberg. Doering (ed. and Veto Power'. Maija (1999) Referendums and Democratic Government.) The International Encyclopedia of Elections. È È Politische Vierteljahresschrift 37(1): 27±55. Markku (1993) Bringing in the People: A Comparison of Constitutional Forms and Practices of the Referendum. George (1999) `Veto Players and Law Production in Parliamentary Democracies: An Empirical Analysis'. Norman (1978) `Instability of Simple Dynamic Games'. . Setala. Citizens. American Political Science Review 93 (Sept. Uleri. Michael (1996) Uber den Staat und die Demokratie im europaischen Mehrebenensystem'. Parliamentarism. Pier Vincenzo (1996) `Introduction'. 83± 111. Tsebelis. pp. George (2002) Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. Tsebelis. (2000) How to Democratize the Euro-Polity and Why Bother? New York: Rowman and Little®eld. London: Macmillan. London: Macmillan. 267±8. Tsebelis. in Michael Gallagher and Pier Vincenzo Uleri (eds) The Referendum Experience in Europe. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff. Alexander H. Switzerland [email: simon. the effect of institutions and. ADDRESS: Institut fur Politikwissenschaft. Trechsel. 2001). ed.hug@unisg. in Richard Rose (ed. È 9000 St Gallen. Washington. Oxford: The British Helsinki Human Rights Group. (1997) Pariah or Victim? A Reappraisal of Human Right and Democracy in Belarus. British Journal of Political Science 25: 289±325. DC: Congressional]. Bernard (2000) `Referendums: Latin America'. Dufourstrasse 45. Thibaut. in Richard Rose (ed. more particularly. coauthor with Stefano Bartolini and Daniele Caramani of Political Parties and Party Systems. MD: Rowman & Little®eld. His research interests include the formation of new political parties. NJ: Princeton University Press. È Zurn. Philippe C. Tsebelis. Review of Economic Studies 45: 575±94. 151±3. Stone.514 JOURNAL OF THEORETICAL POLITICS 14(4) Schmitter. Kyklos 45(4): 501±29.): 591±608. È È Smith. Scho®eld. 2002). SIMON HUG is a Professor of Political Science at the University of St Gallen (Switzerland). formal theory and research methods. Christine. pp. pp. Suksi. Multicamerialism and Multipartyism'. Initiative. George (2000) `Veto Players and Institutional Analysis'. 1998) and co-editor with Pascal Sciarini of Nouvelles valeurs et nouveaux clivages en Suisse (Paris: L'Harmattan. Bernard (1992) `Referendum. Governance 13(4): 441±74. A Bibliographic Guide to the Literature on Parties and Party Systems in Europe since 1945 (London: Sage. pp.) The International Encyclopedia of Elections. 1±19. European Journal of Political Research 4(1): 1±23. Tsebelis. Princeton.

CA 90095. University of California. German. 2002. ADDRESS: Department of Political Science. He is the author of Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics (University of California] . 1990. Japanese and Spanish. [email: tsebilis@ucla. USA. translated into Italian). Los Angeles. His articles have been published in numerous professional journals and translated in French. 1997).HUG & TSEBELIS: VETO-PLAYERS & REFERENDUMS AROUND THE WORLD 515 GEORGE TSEBELIS is Professor of Political Science at University of California. and co-author of Bicameralism (Cambridge University Press. Greek. Los Angeles. translated into Portuguese). and Veto players: How Political Institutions Work (Princeton University Press. His work focuses on political institutions and parties of advanced industrialized countries in general and the European Union in particular. 405 Hilgard Avenue.

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