Using Referendums as a Tool of Good Governance in the Developing World
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The United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have advocated that the adoption of Good Governance by developing countries would enhance development. Both the IMF and the World Bank have selected good governance as part of the criteria for granting loans and grants to such countries. This study seeks to assess if referendums could be used as a tool of good governance in the developing world by comparing the practices of this type of direct democracy in Switzerland and Brazil. These two countries were selected because Switzerland has used referendums as a tool of governance longer than any other country, while Brazil has had a checkered democratic history which is similar to that of many developing countries. The study reveals that enhanced citizen political participation in the developing world, through the use of referendums, may go a long way towards legitimizing the actions of their governments.