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Susan E. Scarrow, "Party Competition and Institutional Change: The Expansion of Direct Democracy in Germany," Party Politics, 3 (October 1997), 451-472.

First Paragraph:
The Federal Republic of Germany has been known as the quintessential democratic party state because of the leading social and constitutional roles held by its established parties. Yet in recent years law-makers throughout Germany have overcome past biases against direct democracy and have multiplied opportunities for individual citizens to circumvent party-controlled channels of decision-making. In doing so, they have subtly transformed institutions that have helped maintain party dominance and cohesion.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: Availability of instruments of direct democracy, 1971-96
Table 1: Adding direct democracy in German states, 1970-96

Last Paragraph:
Finally, this analysis of the circumstances behind Germany's recent moves towards direct democracy has highlighted the role of interpreted public opinion in prompting parties to attack structures that have contributed to their own strength and importance. Change has been driven primarily by parties' perceptions of how citizens will respond to increased direct democracy, not by the organized articulation of such demands. In other words, although the introduction of plebiscitary reforms coincided with a shift towards a more participatory political culture, and although this shift gained new momentum just when popular evaluations of political parties seemed to become more negative, change in public attitudes did not independently produce these institutional reforms. Apparent shifts in popular attitudes had an impact primarily because they propelled action by the partisan actors who were most firmly entrenched in the political system. Thus, when seeking to understand the course of institutional reform, it may not be enough to concentrate solely on the distribution of parties' interests and of voters' preferences. Instead, it may also be useful to take a step backwards and to look at why, and under what circumstances, political actors come to see their interests in a new light.