20:04 30.05.2019

Experts of Swiss Democracy Foundation to share experience of direct democracy with Ukraine

2 min read

KYIV. May 30 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Ukrainian Institute of Direct Democracy and the Swiss Democracy Foundation have signed a memorandum of cooperation.

The corresponding document was signed at a press conference in the press center of the Interfax-Ukraine information agency on Monday.

"Direct democracy involves the direct participation of people in public affairs, the expression of their will. Direct democracy as a concept, as a principle is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine ... Switzerland's experience in this matter is invaluable for us, and we are establishing such cooperation with the Swiss Democracy Foundation," representative of the Ukrainian Institute of Direct Democracy Oleksandr Merezhko said.

Speaking about the possible risks associated with the initiative of holding a referendum on issues relating to national security, Merezhko said: "Our Constitution provides for only three cases in which referendums should not be held, for example, amnesty. When drafting legislation, one can consider expanding the range of issues."

In turn, Bruno Kaufmann, member of the board and director for international cooperation of the Swiss Democracy Foundation, added that it is important to raise the issue of using tools of direct democracy in public discussion with civil society and citizens of Ukraine.

"I strongly recommend cautious approach to this issue, start public discussions on direct democracy. Our extensive experience shows that leaving the tools of direct democracy to a small group of politicians will be a bad decision, since they can use it in their very narrow interests," the expert said.

Kaufmann recommended submitting the issue of introducing direct democracy to the referendum first.

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