Hijackers and Hostages in Non-binding Linked-Issues Referenda: Analysis and an Application
Non-binding referenda ('petitions') are an instrument of direct democracy that allows citizens to signal preferences to politicians outside the electoral cycle. This paper analyses a particular form of petitions, so-called linked-issues petitions, which have been described as an 'abuse of direct democracy'. It discusses the use of linked petitions by petition initiators, its take-up by voters in terms of volume and voter motives, and applies the analytical insights to a controversial referendum held in Austria in 2002 that linked issues of transboundary nuclear risk and Eastern enlargement of the European Union.
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