University of Twente Student Theses


Local referendums and organizational challenges of municipalities in Germany

Witte, Franziska (2022) Local referendums and organizational challenges of municipalities in Germany.

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Abstract:Referendums have become an essential tool of citizen participation and direct democracy at the local level in recent years. While many citizens support and enjoy this participatory tool, the local administrations often do not share their enthusiasm. Although the administrations see benefits in referendums and citizen participation in general, they tend to find these processes demanding. But the research focus so far has not been on administrations´ experience. That is why this paper analyzes what explains differences in the amount and nature of challenges in organizing referendums between municipalities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 officials of eight municipalities to identify the explanatory factors. The gathered data was analyzed, and the results show that local administrations face several administrative, regulatory, communication, and other challenges when organizing referendums. Moreover, the size of the municipality, its experience with referendums, its contact with and support from external parties like neighboring municipalities or experts, as well as the organization of the referendum election are determined as explanatory factors. It was concluded that these factors explain the differences in the amount and nature of the challenges the municipalities face to some extent. This research, therefore, adds insights into the administrations´ referendum experience and shows the importance of local administrations as actors in the referendum process.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general, 88 social and public administration, 89 political science
Programme:European Studies MSc (69303)
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