Despite all the efforts after twenty years, Albania is still considered a transitional government or hybrid regime (Freedom House, 2013). Direct participation of citizens in decision making through referendums is a tool to raise the level of public awareness and encourage critical debate of local community concerns among different actors of the society. Local referendums have the advantage to increase critical mass debate about the concern question raised. However, it is often argued that referendums are problematic because they weaken representative democracy. The notion of referendum implies the coexistence of representative institutions such as local councils and the procedures for the intervention of direct participation of the citizens. Seeing the fact that our representatives are far from representing citizens interests and also the fact of the citizensâ€™ apathy, this paper argues that local referendums help to develop local democracy, promoting direct participation and human rights values.
referendum, democracy, participation, practicing democracy, human rights
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