The article studies the hypothesis that the evolution of new forms of participative democracy is associated with the modernization process and the value change which occurred during the second half of the 20th century. According to Ronald Inglehart’s theory of post-material values, the modernization process should increase citizens’ autonomy, education and cognitive skills and, in turn, help advance new forms of democracy. Based on the case of EU accession referendums in five Central and Eastern European countries, it is studied who participated in those referendums and which (primarily socio-demographic) factors influenced that participation. According to Inglehart’s theory (and related hypotheses), alternative/direct forms of participation should mobilize young generations, and an important role should be played by factors such as high education or increasingly critical attitudes towards representative democracy. The results of the analysis did not confirm this hypothesis. The analysis showed that direct democracy mobilizes those citizens who have participated in representative elections in the past and are generally more interested in politics. The hypothesis that young people should be more likely to participate in referendums was rejected as well.