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Francesco Campodonico University of Genova. E-mail: fra.campodonico@gmail.com

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This paper shows, using a history based methodology, the differences between the “people’s initiative procedures” or “progressive model” and the “authoritative body-initiative procedures” or “plebiscitary model” — two structural models for recall procedure. These two heuristic models will be inferred, respectively, by the recall procedures adopted in the U.S., starting from 1903, and the recall procedures adopted in some States of Europe, starting from the Weimar constitution of 1919. The political-constitutional reasons behind the evident structural differences (“bottom-up” and “top-down” procedures) will be explained by providing an historical reconstruction about the genesis of the idea of “the recall” in the first American constitutionalism (the “Antifederalist recall”). Then the political idea behind the “progressive model” will be considered with special attention paid to the Swiss direct democracy influence on the development of the American socialists idea of the recall. The other model will be contextualized by focusing on the constitutional debate of the Germany around the late 19th and the early 20th century. The abuse of both procedures will be presented in two recent cases of tested recall procedures, California and Romania. Both leaded to similar results. The importance both in understanding the reference model and in providing detailed and strictly juridical regulations is highlighted to avoid the risk of abuses of these procedures by the concrete political actors.

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