On Reconciling Recall with Representation

  • Laurence WhiteheadEmail author


Recall has been entwined with representation from its earliest days, but it was not until modern representative government achieved global ascendancy over the past generation that this practice really took off. It is likely to continue expanding because traditional democratic formulae seem past their prime and in need of a boost. But experience so far suggests that there are pitfalls as well as benefits to this direct democracy “add on” and that the more ambitious the experiment, the greater the risk of unintended consequences. This chapter concludes by reviewing three guidelines to head off such dangers. The “caesaristic” alternative is displaying renewed vitality, but it can be combatted by arrangements that combine representative elections with recall safety valves, provided priority is accorded to the healing of political divisions, allowing for “buyer’s remorse”, and seeking “losers’ consent”.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK

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