FACTOID # 27: If you're itching to live in a trailer park, hitch up your home and head to South Carolina, where a whopping 18% of residences are mobile homes.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
RELATED ARTICLES
People who viewed "Referendum" also viewed:
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Referendum

A referendum (plural referendums or referenda), ballot question, or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may be the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. The referendum or plebiscite is a form of direct democracy. This article is about the political process. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... Sortition, also known as allotment, is a fair method of selection by some form of lottery such as drawing coloured pebbles from a bag. ... A by-election or bye-election is a special election held to fill a political office when the incumbent has died or resigned. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. ... A show election or a sham election is an election that is held purely for show, that is, without any significant political purpose. ... A Fixed-term election is an election that occurs on a set date, and cannot be changed by the incumbent politician. ... A general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are up for election. ... Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election do not actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. ... Rules for, and experience with, local elections vary widely across jurisdictions. ... Apportionment, or reapportionment, is the process of determining representation in politics within a legislative body by creating constituencies. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The Gerry-Mander first appeared in this cartoon-map in the Boston Gazette, 26 March 1812 Gerrymandering is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage. ... The process known as redistricting in the United States and redistribution in many Commonwealth countries is the changing of political borders (in many countries, specifically the electoral district/constituency boundaries) usually in response to periodic census results. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voters choices are confidential. ... This article is about the political process. ... Political Parties redirects here. ... Vote redirects here. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ... Elections by country gives information on elections. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      The List of election results by country gives information on elections. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This electoral calendar 2007 lists the national/federal direct elections held in 2007 in the de jure and de facto sovereign states and their dependent territories. ... This electoral calendar 2007 lists the national/federal direct elections held in 2007 in the de jure and de facto sovereign states and their dependent territories. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... ... Voting is a method of decision making wherein a group such as a meeting or an electorate attempts to gauge its opinion—usually as a final step following discussions or debates. ... In politics, an electorate is the group of people entitled to vote in an election. ... Amend redirects here. ... For other uses, see Law (disambiguation). ... A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ...

Contents

Terminology

Referendums and referenda are both commonly used as plurals of the referendum factor. However, the use of referenda is deprecated by the Oxford English Dictionary which advises that: The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of...

Referendums is logically preferable as a plural form meaning ballots on one issue (as a Latin gerund, referendum has no plural). The Latin plural gerundive referenda, meaning things to be referred, necessarily connotes a plurality of issues.

For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, “gerund” is a term used to refer to various non-finite verb forms in various languages: As applied to English, it refers to what might be called a verbs action noun, which is one of the uses of the -ing form. ...

Procedure and status

In a first classification by necessity, a referendum may be mandatory, that is, the law (usually the constitution) directs authorities to holding referendums on specific matters (such is the case in amending most constitutions, or impeaching heads of state as well as ratifying international treaties) and are usually binding. A referendum can also be facultative, that is it can be initiated at the will of a public authority (President of the Republic in France and Romania or the Government/Parliament in Greece or Spain) or at the will of the citizens (a petition). It can be binding or non-binding.


A foundational referendum or plebiscite may be drafted by a constituent assembly before being put to voters. In other circumstances a referendum is usually initiated either by a legislature or by citizens themselves by means of a petition. The process of initiating a referendum by petition is known as the popular or citizen's initiative. In the United States the term referendum is often reserved for a direct vote initiated by a legislature while a vote originating in a petition of citizens is referred to as an "initiative", "ballot measure" or "proposition." A constituent assembly is a body elected with the purpose of drafting, and in some cases, adopting a constitution. ... initiative, see Initiative (disambiguation). ...


In countries in which a referendum must be initiated by parliament it is sometimes mandatory to hold a binding referendum on certain proposals, such as constitutional amendments. In countries, such as the United Kingdom, in which referendums are neither mandatory nor binding there may, nonetheless, exist an unwritten convention that certain important constitutional changes will be put to a referendum and that the result will be respected.


By nature of their effects, referendums may be either binding or non-binding. A non-binding referendum is merely consultative or advisory. It is left to the government or legislature to interpret the results of a non-binding referendum and it may even choose to ignore them. This is particularly the case in states which follow Westminster conventions of parliamentary sovereignty. In New Zealand, for example, citizen-initiated referendum (CIR) questions are broad statements of intent, not detailed laws. Following a referendum vote, parliament itself has the sole power to draft, debate and pass enabling legislation if it so chooses, and thus far, New Zealand governments have chosen to ignore completely two of the three proposals which have succeeded in forcing a vote since the CIR device was created in 1993. The third, a series of proposals about criminal justice, prompted some minor reforms only; it too was largely ignored. This -as was recently argued by Matt Qvortrup in his much cited 'Supply-side Politics (Centre for Policy Studies 2007)- has led to a disuse of the New Zealand device. However, a majority of 77 percent of the voters according to the New Zealand Election Study believe that the citizen initiated referendum make the politicians more accountable. Moreover trust in politicians has grown by almost 20 percent since the introduction of the device. In most referendums it is sufficient for a measure to be approved by a simple majority of voters in order for it to be carried. However, a referendum may also require the support of a super-majority, such as two-thirds of votes cast. In Lithuania certain proposals must be endorsed by a three-quarters majority (among them, any proposal to amend article 148 of the Lithuanian Constitution, which states, "Lithuania is an independent and democratic republic"). A legislatureis a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to ratify laws. ... A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority in order to have effect. ...


In some countries, including Italy, there is also a requirement that there be a certain minimum turn-out of the electorate in order for the result of a referendum to be considered valid. This is intended to ensure that the result is representative of the will of the electorate and is analogous to the quorum required in a committee or legislature. Look up quorum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The franchise in a referendum is not necessarily the same as that for elections. For example, in the Republic of Ireland only citizens may vote in a referendum whereas all European Union citizens resident in the state are entitled to vote in general elections. Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Suffrage (from the Latin suffragium, meaning vote) is the civil right to vote, or the exercise of that right. ... This article is about the political process. ... A general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are up for election. ...


Referendums by country

Australia

Approval in a referendum is necessary in order to amend the Australian constitution. A bill must first be passed by both houses of Parliament or, in certain limited circumstances, by only one house of Parliament, and is then submitted to a referendum. If a majority of those voting, as well as separate majorities in each of a majority of states, (and where appropriate a majority of people in any affected state) vote in favour of the amendment, it is presented for Royal Assent, given in the Queen's name by the Governor-General. Due to the specific mention of referendums in the Australian constitution, non-constitutional referendums are usually termed plebiscites in Australia. // Federal Referendums In Australia, referendums are nationwide polls held to approve government-proposed changes to the Australian constitution. ... Judicial High Court Lower Courts Constitution State and territory governments Executive Governors and Administrators Premiers and Chief Ministers Legislative Parliaments and Assemblies State electoral systems ACT - NSW - NT - Qld. ... // The granting of Royal Assent is the formal method by which a constitutional monarch completes the legislative process of lawmaking by formally assenting to an Act of Parliament. ... The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. ...


Canada

Main article: Referendums in Canada

Referendums are rare in Canada and only three have ever occurred at the federal level. The most recent was a referendum in 1992 on a package of proposed constitutional measures known as the Charlottetown Accord. Although the Constitution of Canada does not expressly require that amendments be approved by referendum, some argue that, in light of the precedent set by the Charlottetown Accord referendum, this may have become an unwritten convention. Referendums can also occur at the provincial level. The 1980 Quebec referendum and 1995 Quebec referendum on the secession of Québec are notable cases. In October of 2007, the province of Ontario voted on a mixed-member proportional representation electoral system. National referenda are seldom used in Canada, and have tended to be disasters. ... Headline on October 27, 1992 Globe and Mail. ... The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the countrys constitution is an amalgam of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. ... The 1980 Quebec referendum was the first referendum in Quebec on the role of Quebec within Canada and whether Quebec should pursue a path toward sovereignty. ... Bill on the referendum and eventual declaration of independence. ... During the 1960s, a terrorist group known as the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) launched a decade of bombings, robberies and attacks on government offices. ... Motto: Ut Incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin: Loyal she began, loyal she remains) Capital Toronto Largest city Toronto Official languages English (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor David C. Onley Premier Dalton McGuinty (Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 107 Senate seats 24 Confederation July 1, 1867 (1st) Area...


Chile

There have been three plebiscites and one "consultation" in Chilean history. In 1925, a plebiscite was held over a new constitution which would replace a semi-parliamentary system with a presidential one. The "Yes" vote won overwhelmingly, with 95% of the vote. In 1978, after the United Nations protested against Pinochet's régime, the country's military government held a national consultation which asked if people supported Pinochet's rule. The "Yes" vote won with 78.6%, although the results have been questioned. Another constitutional plebiscite was held in 1980. The "derp" won with 68.5%, prolonging Pinochet's term until 1989 and replacing the 1925 Constitution with a new one still used today. The results of this plebiscite have also been questioned by Pinochet's opponents. In a historical plebiscite held in 1988, 56% voted to end the military régime. The next year, yet another plebiscite was held for constitutional changes for the transition to a democratic government (the "Yes" vote won with 91%). There have been several referendums in individual municipalities in Chile since the return to civilian rule in 1990. A referendum which took place on 2006 in Las Condes over the construction of a mall was noteworthy for being the first instance in Chilean history where electronic voting machines were used. UN and U.N. redirect here. ... General Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte1 (born November 25, 1915) was head of the military government that ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990. ... The National Plebiscite of 1980 in Chile was a referendum held on September 11, 1980 in order to approve the 1980 Political Constitution of the Republic of Chile as a replacement for Chiles 1925 constitution. ... Kennedy Avenue Las Condes is a municipality (comuna) of Chile located in the northeastern part of the province of Santiago in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, at the foot of the Andes mountains. ...


European Union

The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was rejected in France and Netherlands in popular referendums. Popular referendums in support of the Treaty were held in Spain and Luxembourg. Sixteen other states approved the Treaty by parliamentary vote only. Seven states had not ratified the Treaty, but of those only three, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom, had committed to hold referendums. The Treaty has both been rejected by proponents of national sovereignty and by the left-wing liberal anti-globalisation movement in France. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe The constitutional treaty as signed in Rome on 29 October 2004 by representatives of the EU member states The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE), commonly referred to as the European Constitution, was an unimplemented... The House of Representatives Chamber of the Parliament of Australia in Canberra. ... “Sovereign” redirects here. ... Anti-globalization (anti-globalisation) is a political stance of opposition to the perceived negative aspects of globalization. ...


Iraq

The current Constitution of Iraq was approved by referendum on 15 October 2005, two years after the United States-led invasion. The constitution was designed to shift crucial decisions about government, the judiciary and human rights to a future national assembly. It was later modified to provide for the establishment of a committee by the parliament to be elected in December of 2005 to consider changes to the constitution in 2006. The current constitution of Iraq was approved by a referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. ... A referendum will be held in the Iraqi governorate of Kirkuk on 15 November 2007 on whether to become part of the region of Iraqi Kurdistan. ... The current constitution of Iraq was approved by a referendum that took place on 15 October 2005. ... is the 288th day of the year (289th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Ireland

The current Constitution of Ireland was adopted by plebiscite on 1 July 1937. In the Republic of Ireland every constitutional amendment must be approved by referendum; since 1937, more than twenty constitutional referendums have occurred. Constitutional amendments are first adopted by both Houses of the Oireachtas (parliament), submitted to a referendum, and are signed into law by the President. The role of the president, however, is merely ceremonial: she cannot refuse to sign into law an amendment that has been approved in a referendum. The constitution also provides for a referendum on an ordinary law, known as an 'ordinary referendum'. Such a referendum can only take place under special circumstances, and none have yet occurred. The closest referendum result was 1995's vote to legalise divorce - 50.3% voted "Yes" (to legalise divorce) and 49.7% voted "No." An amendment may be made to any part of Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland, but only by referendum. ... The Constitution of Ireland (Irish: Bunreacht na hÉireann)[1] is the founding legal document of the state known today both as Ireland and as the Republic of Ireland. ... is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Oireachtas is the National Parliament of the Republic of Ireland. ... Official Seal of the President of Ireland The President of Ireland (Irish: ) is the head of state of the Republic of Ireland. ... The ordinary referendum is a referendum in the Republic of Ireland in which the President may refer a bill directly to the electorate before it becomes law. ...


Italy

Main article: Referendum in Italy

The constitution of Italy provides for two kinds of binding referendum: A legislative referendum can be called in order to abrogate totally or partially a law, but only at the request of 500,000 electors or five regional councils. This kind of referendum is valid only if at least a majority of electors goes to the polling station. It is forbidden to call a referendum regarding financial laws or laws relating to pardons or the ratification of international treaties. A constitutional referendum can be called in order to approve a constitutional law or amendment only when it has been approved by the Chambers (Chamber of Deputies and Senate of the Republic) with a majority of less than two thirds in both or either Chamber, and only at the request of one fifth of the members of either Chamber, or 500,000 electors or five regional councils. A constitutional referendum is valid no matter how many electors go to the polling station. Any citizen entitled to vote in an election to the Chamber of Deputies may participate in a referendum. The Constitution of Italy provides for legally binding referenda. ...


New Zealand

New Zealand has two types of referendum. Government referendum are predominantly either on constitutional issues or on alcohol policy (although this has been phased out). There are issues on other issues however. Furthermore, constitutional issues, such as the establishment of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, need not be done through referendum. New Zealand also has provisions for Citizens' Initiated Referendum, although these are non-binding. Referendums (or referenda) are held only occasionally by the government of New Zealand. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Supreme Court of New Zealand is the highest court of appeal in New Zealand, having formally come into existence at the beginning of 2004, and sitting for the first time on 1 July 2004. ...


Romania

Under the Romanian Constitution of 1991, revised in 2003, there are three situations in which referendums can be held. Art 90 of the constitution establishes a facultative and non-binding referendum which the President can initiate on matters of principle. Art 95 of the Constitution establishes a mandatory and binding referendum for the impeachement of the President in case he is deemed guilty of disobeying the Constitution. Art 151 of the Constitution also establishes a mandatory and binding referendum on approving Constitutional amendments. This last provision has been used twice, in adopting the Romanian Constitution in 1991 and amending it 2003. The Romanian Constitution is the fundamental law that establishes the structure of the government of Romania, the rights and obligations of the countrys citizens, and its mode of passing laws. ...


Serbia

The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia was adopted on a referendum held in 28-29 October 2006. The constitutional referendum passed with 3,521,724 voting a 53.04% majority. 3,645,517 or 54.91% voted on the referendum, which made it legitimate. A referendum on a proposed draft of the new Serbian constitution was held on October 28 and 29 October 2006 and has resulted in the draft constitution being approved by the Serbian electorate. ... The new Constitution of Serbia was approved by a referendum held during two days (october 28 and 29) in Serbia. ...


Sweden

Main article: Referendums in Sweden

The Constitution of Sweden provides for both binding and non-binding referendums.[citation needed] Since the introduction of parliamentary democracy six referendums have been held in Sweden: the first was on prohibition in 1922 and the most recent on euro membership in 2003. All have been non-binding, consultative referendums. Two, in 1957 and 1980, were multiple choice referendums. Since the introduction of parliamentarism in Sweden six referendums have been held. ... The Swedish Constitution consists of four fundamental laws (Swedish: grundlagar): The Instrument of Government (Regeringsformen, 1974) The Act of Succession (Successionsordningen 1810) The Freedom of the Press Act (Tryckfrihetsförordningen 1766) The Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression (Yttrandefrihetsgrundlagen 1991) There is also a law on the working order of... The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... For other uses, see Euro (disambiguation). ...


Switzerland

In Switzerland, there are binding referendums at federal, cantonal and municipal level. They are a central feature of Swiss political life. It is not the government's choice whether or when a referendum is held, but it is a legal procedure regulated by the Swiss constitution. There are two types of referendums:

  • Facultative referendum: Any federal law, certain other federal resolutions, and international treaties that are either perpetual and irredeemable, joinings of an international organization, or that change Swiss law may be subject to a facultative referendum if at least 50,000 people or eight cantons have petitioned to do so within 100 days. In cantons and municipalities, the required number of people is smaller, and there may be additional causes for a facultative referendum, e.g., expenditures that exceed a certain amount of money. The facultative referendum is the most usual type of referendum, and it is mostly carried out by political parties or by interest groups.
  • Obligatory referendum: There must be a referendum on any amendments to the constitution and on any joining of a multinational community or organization for collective security. In many municipalities, expenditures that exceed a certain amount of money also are subject to the obligatory referendum. Constitutional amendments are either proposed by the parliament or the cantons, or they may be proposed by citizens' initiatives, which—on the federal level—need to collect 100,000 valid signatures within 18 months, and must not contradict international laws or treaties. Often, parliament elaborates a counter-proposal to an initiative, leading to a multiple-choice referendum. Very few such initiatives pass the vote, but more often, the parliamentary counter proposal is approved.

The possibility of facultative referendums forces the parliament to search for a compromise between the major interest groups. In many cases, the mere threat of a facultative referendum or of an initiative is enough to make the parliament adjust a law.


The referendums are said, by their adversaries, to slow politics down. On the other hand empirical scientists, e.g. Bruno S. Frey among many, show that this and other instruments of citizens' participation, direct democracy, contribute to stability and happiness. Professor Bruno S. Frey (born on May 4, 1941 in Basel, Switzerland) is a Swiss economist and one of the worlds leading welfare economists. ...


The votes on referendums are always held on a Sunday, typically three or four times a year, and in most cases, the votes concern several referendums at the same time, often at different political levels (federal, cantonal, municipal). Elections are as well often combined with referendums. However, the percentage of voters is generally very low, about 20 to 30 percent unless there is an election. The decisions made in referendums tend to be conservative. Citizens' initiatives are usually not passed. Even referendums on tax cuts are often not passed. The federal rule and referendums have been used in Switzerland since 1848.


United Kingdom

Owing to the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty a binding referendum cannot be held in the United Kingdom (Unless the government of the time of the referenda announce that the result shall be binding before the referendum has taken place [as in the 1973 EEC referendum]) (UK). Referendums are rare and only once has a referendum proposal been put to the entire electorate of the UK; this was a referendum in 1975 on continued membership of the European Economic Community. Referendums have been held in individual parts of the United Kingdom on issues relating to devolution in Scotland and Wales, and the status of Northern Ireland but since the first one in 1973 only eight major referendums have been held (source: Electoral Commission). There have also been referendums held at the local level on proposals for directly elected local mayors. In 2004 the British government committed to holding a UK-wide referendum on the new EU Constitution, which was postponed in 2005 due to the French and Dutch rejection of the European Constitution. Referendums have also been proposed on the plan to adopt the euro as the UK's currency and whether to change from the 'First Past the Post' system to an alternative electoral system, such as proportional representation. In addition, under the 1972 Local Government Act, there is a little-known provision under which non-binding local referendums on any issue can be called by small groups of voters. Referendums (or referenda) are only occasionally held by the government of the United Kingdom. ... Parliamentary sovereignty, parliamentary supremacy, or legislative supremacy is a concept in constitutional law that applies to some parliamentary democracies. ... The European Community (EC), most important of three European Communities, was originally founded on March 25, 1957 by the signing of the Treaty of Rome under the name of European Economic Community. ... Look up Devolution in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the country. ... This article is about the country. ... Northern Ireland (Irish: , Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... The Electorial Commission is an independent body with powers in the United Kingdom, which was created by an Act of Parliament, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. ... The plurality voting system, also known as first past the post, is a voting system used to elect a single winner in a given election. ... Proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). ...


United States

In the United States, the term "referendum" typically refers to a popular vote to overturn legislation already passed at the state or local levels (mainly in the western United States). By contrast, "initiatives" and "legislative referrals" consist of newly drafted legislation submitted directly to a popular vote as an alternative to adoption by a legislature. Collectively, referenda and initiatives in the United States are commonly referred to as ballot measures, initiatives or propositions.


There is no provision for the holding of referenda at the federal level in the United States; indeed, there is no national electorate of any kind. However, the constitutions of 24 states (principally in the West) and many local and city governments provide for referenda and citizen's initiatives. The most famous U.S. state initiative is probably California's Proposition 13 which severely limited property tax increases. They are especially popular in modifying state constitutions. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... This article is about the U.S. state. ... Proposition 13, officially titled the Peoples Initiative to Limit Property Taxation, was a ballot initiative to amend the constitution of the state of California. ... In the context of the United States of America, a state constitution is the governing document of a U.S. state, comparable to the U.S. Constitution which is the governing document of the United States. ...


Other nations

  • Brazil: In October 2005, 122 million voters decided to continue to allow the sale of firearms in Brazil. This referendum was offered by the government as part of a violence minimization initiative known as project disarmament.
  • Costa Rica will have its first referendum next October 7th to decide if it approves or not the application of the CAFTA agreement, current polls still indicate a virtual tie.
  • Croatia held an independence referendum in May, 1991, with a turnout of 80%, of which 93% of the voters opted for independence.
  • Eritrea: In April 1993 nearly 1 million voters (a quarter of the population), cast ballots to become "sovereign and independent" of Ethiopia. This vote was the result of thirty years of war by Eritreans during their War of Independence. The result was a vote for independence by 99.8% of the voters.
  • France: In France a constitutional amendment must be approved by either a super-majority in parliament or by the people in a referendum.
  • Kashmir(a state within the territory of India): The Security Council of United Nations on the complaint of Government of India concerning the dispute over the State of Jammu and Kashmir passed resolution 47(1948), “that both India and Pakistan desire that the question of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan should be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite”. It recommended to the Governments of India and Pakistan to restore peace and order in Jammu and Kashmir and provide full freedom to all subjects of the state, to vote on the question of accession.
  • Puerto Rico: Three Puerto Rican status referendums (in 1967, 1993, and 1998) have taken place in Puerto Rico to determine whether the insular area should become an independent nation (comprising a republic and an associated republic), apply for statehood, or maintain commonwealth (Estado Libre Asociado) states. Remaining a commonwealth has been the result of all three referendums. There was also a 2005 referendum (Resolution 64) to determine whether the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico should legislature should be restructed (among other changes become unicameral).
  • Singapore: On 1 September 1962 a referendum was held to put the proposal for Singapore to merge with Malaya to a direct vote by the citizens. There were three choices: 1) To merge, with Malaya having autonomy in labour and education; 2) To merge, with Malaya having same status as the other states in Malaya; 3) To merge, with Malaya having terms similar to those of the Borneo territories. No objection to merger was to be made however.
  • Spain: In 1976 a referendum was held to determine if citizens wanted to change the political system (i.e., the dictatorship) or not to change it, after the death of Francisco Franco. Spaniards chose (94%) to change ("Referéndum para la reforma política", literally «Referendum for political reformation»). Also, in 1986 another referendum approved Spain's membership to NATO.
  • Venezuela: In the Venezuelan recall referendum of 2004 voters determined whether or not Hugo Chávez, the current President of Venezuela, should be recalled from office. The result of the referendum was to not recall Chávez.

Firearms redirects here. ... The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a free trade agreement between the United States and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and Canada, and Mexico. ... -1... Combatants ELF EPLF Ethiopia Cuba Soviet Union Commanders Isaias Afewerki Haile Selassie Mengistu Haile Mariam Casualties 65,000 (offical state figure) Up to 500,000 The Eritrean War of Independence started on 1 September 1961 when Hamid Idris Awate and his companions fired the first shots against the occupying Ethiopian... A supermajority or a qualified majority is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level or type of support which exceeds a simple majority in order to have effect. ... Puerto Rican Status Referendums have been held four times to determine the political status of the island of Puerto Rico in relation to the United States of America. ... An insular area is United States territory that is neither a part of one of the fifty states nor a part of the District of Columbia, the nations federal district. ... Flag of Puerto Rico The political movement for Puerto Rican Independence (Lucha por la Independencia Puertorriqueña) has existed since the mid-19th century and has advocated independence of the island of Puerto Rico, in varying degrees, from Spain (in the 19th century) or the United States (from 1898 to... Look up republic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      A U.S. state is any one of the fifty subnational entities of... In the terminology of the United States insular areas, a Commonwealth is an organized territory or colony that has established with the Federal Government a more highly developed relationship, which may be embodied in a written mutual agreement. ... The Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico is the legislative branch of the government of Puerto Rico. ... For unicameral alphabets, see the article letter case. Unicameralism is the practice of having only one legislative or parliamentary chamber. ... The Singapore national referendum of 1962, or also commonly refered to as the Merger Referendum of Singapore was held in Singapore on September 1, 1962, which called for people to vote on the terms of merger with Malaysia. ... Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... Look up autonomy, autonomous in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... Map of Peninsular Malaysia Peninsular Malaysia (Malay: Semenanjung Malaysia) is the part of Malaysia which lies on the Malay Peninsula, and shares a land border with Thailand in the north. ... Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. ... “Franco” redirects here. ... The Venezuelan recall referendum of 15 August 2004 was a referendum to determine whether Hugo Chávez, the current President of Venezuela, should be recalled from office. ... Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías (pronounced ) (born July 28, 1954) is the current President of Venezuela. ... List of Presidents of Venezuela José Antonio Páez (1830-1835) José María Vargas (1835-1837) Carlos Soublette (1837-1839) José Antonio Páez (1839-1843) Carlos Soublette (1843-1847) José Tadeo Monagas (1847-1851) José Gregorio Monagas (1851-1855) José Tadeo Monagas (1855-1858) Julián Castro (1858...

Multiple-choice referendums

A referendum usually offers the electorate only two choices, either to accept or reject a proposal, but this need not necessarily be the case. In Switzerland, for example, multiple choice referendums are common; two multiple choice referendums held in Sweden, in 1957 and 1980, offered voters a choice of three options; and in 1977 a referendum held in Australia to determine a new national anthem was held in which voters were presented with four choices. The National Anthem booth at the 2005 Floriade, Canberra - on the J. Verbeeck fairground organ. ...


A multiple choice referendum poses the problem of how the result is to be determined if no single option receives the support of an absolute majority (i.e., more than half) of voters. This can be resolved by applying voting systems designed for single winner elections to a multiple-choice referendum. A majority is a subset of a group that is more than half of the entire group. ... A voting system is a means of choosing between a number of options, based on the input of a number of voters. ...


Swiss referendums get around this problem by offering a separate vote on each of the multiple options as well as an additional decision about which of the multiple options should be preferred. In the Swedish case, in both referendums the 'winning' option was chosen by the Single Member Plurality ("first past the post") system. In other words the winning option was deemed to be that supported by a plurality, rather than an absolute majority, of voters. In the 1977 Australian referendum the winner was chosen by the system of Instant Run-off Voting (also known as the 'Alternative Vote'). The First Past the Post electoral system, is a voting system for single-member districts. ... For the use of the term in political theory, see Pluralism (political theory). ... Example Instant-runoff voting ballot Instant-runoff voting (IRV) is a voting system most commonly used for single member elections in which voters have one vote, but can rank candidates in order of preference. ...


Some groups, such as the Northern Ireland de Borda Institute, advocate the conduct of referendums using the Modified Borda count (MBC) form of preferential voting, and refer to such a vote as a Borda 'preferendum'. The de Borda Institute argues that the MBC would produce results based on consensus rather than majoritarianism; it is therefore suggested for use in plebiscites held in areas of conflict such as Northern Ireland, the Balkans or Kashmir, and not least because the two-option referendum, in such situations, can and often does provoke violence. The MBC can/could also be used (electronically) in meetings, councils and parliaments. Critics of the Borda count argue that it is particularly susceptible to tactical voting and to the tactical nomination of candidates, and that it may produce results that are opposed by a majority of voters. Proponents of the MBC point out, however, that democracy is for everybody, not just a majority; decisions should therefore be taken in consensus, either by talking and talking, or by talking and voting in an MBC. Other voting methods that could be employed are Condorcet's Method and approval voting that are not subject to the effects of irrelevant alternatives and less susceptible to insincere preference intensity. Northern Ireland (Irish: , Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom lying in the northeast of the island of Ireland, covering 5,459 square miles (14,139 km², about a sixth of the islands total area). ... Preferential voting (or preference voting) is a type of ballot structure used in several electoral systems in which voters rank a list or group of candidates in order of preference. ... Majoritarianism is a political philosophy or agenda which asserts that a majority (sometimes categorized by religion, language or some other identifying factor) of the population is entitled to a certain degree of primacy in society, and has the right to make decisions that affect the society. ... Balkan redirects here. ... Kashmir (or Cashmere) may refer to: Kashmir region, the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent India, Kashmir conflict, the territorial dispute between India, Pakistan, and the China over the Kashmir region. ... Any election method conforming to the Condorcet criterion is known as a Condorcet method. ... On an approval ballot, the voter can vote for any number of candidates. ...


United Nations

Eleanor Roosevelt et al. wrote after the Nazi- Holocaust, WWII a Human Rights Declaration, passed into Law 10.12.1948, where Direct Democracy (Referendum) is part of. See: Article 21: "1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives." Anna Eleanor Roosevelt known as Eleanor (IPA: ; October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American political leader who used her influence as an active First Lady from 1933 to 1945 to promote the New Deal policies of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as taking a prominent...


Criticisms

Although some advocates of direct democracy would have the referendum become the dominant institution of government, in practice and in principle, in almost all cases, the referendum exists solely as a complement to the system of representative democracy, in which most major decisions are made by an elected legislature. An often cited exception is the Swiss canton of Glaris, in which meetings are held on the village lawn to decide on matters of public concern. In most jurisdictions that practice them, referendums are relatively rare occurrences and are restricted to important issues. Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... Glarus (German:  ) is the capital of the Canton of Glarus, Switzerland. ...


Advocates of the referendum argue that certain decisions are best taken out of the hands of representatives and determined directly by the people. Some adopt a strict definition of democracy, saying elected parliaments are a necessary expedient to make governance possible in the large, modern nation-state, though direct democracy is nonetheless preferable and the referendum takes precedence over Parliamentary decisions.


Other advocates insist that the principle of popular sovereignty demands that certain foundational questions, such as the adoption or amendment of a constitution, the secession of a state or the altering of national boundaries, be determined with the directly expressed consent of the people. Pooybuttpular sovereignty is the doctrine that the state is created by and therefore subject to the will of its people, who are the source of all political power. ...


Advocates of representative democracy say referendums are used by politicians to avoid making difficult or controversial decisions.


Criticism of populist aspect

Critics of the referendum argue that voters in a referendum are more likely driven by transient whims than careful deliberation, or that they are not sufficiently informed to make decisions on complicated or technical issues. Voters might furthermore be swayed by strong personalities, or the adverse influence of propaganda or expensive advertising campaigns. James Madison argued that direct democracy is the "tyranny of the majority." James Madison (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836), was an American politician and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817), and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


Some opposition to the referendum has arisen from its use by dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini who, it is argued, used the plebiscite to disguise oppressive policies in a veneer of populism. Hitler's use of the plebiscite is one reason why, since World War II, there has been no provision in Germany for the holding of referendums at the federal level. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Benito Mussolini created a fascist state through the use of propaganda, total control of the media and disassembly of the working democratic government. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000...


Patten's criticism

British politician Chris Patten summarized many of the arguments used by those who oppose the referendum in an interview in 2003 when discussing the possibility of a referendum in the United Kingdom on the European Union Constitution: Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, CH, PC (born 12 May 1944 in Bath, Somerset) is a prominent British Conservative politician and a Patron of the Tory Reform Group. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe The constitutional treaty as signed in Rome on 29 October 2004 by representatives of the EU member states The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE), commonly referred to as the European Constitution, was an unimplemented...

I think referendums are awful. They were the favorite form of plebiscitary democracy of Mussolini and Hitler. They undermine Westminster [parliament]. What they ensure, as we saw in the last election, is if you have a referendum on an issue politicians during an election campaign say oh we're not going to talk about that, we don't need to talk about that, that's all for the referendum. So during the last election campaign the euro was hardly debated. I think referendums are fundamentally anti-democratic in our system and I wouldn't have anything to do with them. On the whole, governments only concede them when governments are weak (BBC, 2004).

Never-end-um

A further perceived flaw of the referendum is that in some circumstances the democratic spirit of the referendum may be flouted by the repeated submission to the referendum of a proposal until it is eventually endorsed, perhaps due to a low turn-out or public fatigue with the issue. This is especially a problem where a proposal may be difficult to reverse, such as secession from a larger country or the abolition of a monarchy. The repeated holding of a referendum on a single issue has been pejoratively referred to as the phenomenon of the "never-end-um". Single-issue politics involves political campaigning or political support based on one essential policy area or idea. ...


Closed questions and the separability problem

Some critics of the referendum attack the use of closed questions. A difficulty which can plague a referendum of two issues or more is called the separability problem. If one issue is in fact, or in perception, related to another on the ballot, the imposed simultaneous voting of first preference on each issue can result in an outcome that is displeasing to most. The Separability Problem is a concept from the field of social choice theory that describes the situation where two or more issues up for vote on a ballot either are, or are perceived as, related. ...


Sources

  • Interview with Chris Patten, EU Commissioner for External Affairs (2003). bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 Oct. 2004 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/breakfast_with_frost/2954232.stm.
  • Emerson, P J. Defining Democracy puts both two-option and multi-option referendums into their historical context, and suggests which are the more accurate measures of "the will of the people". The de Borda Institute is at http://www.deborda.org
  • Emerson Peter, Designing an All-Inclusive Democracy (Springer-Verlag, 2007), describes the Modified Borda Count (MBC), as well as the Quota Borda System (QBS) and the matrix vote.

See also

The American tradition of direct democracy dates from the 1630s in the New England Colonies (Willard, 1858, Miller, 1991, and Zimmerman, December 1999). ... The Elections and Parties Series Democracy Liberal democracy History of democracy Referenda Representative democracy Representation Voting Voting systems Elections Elections by country Elections by calender Electoral systems Politics Politics by country Political campaigns Political science Political philosophy Related topics Political parties Parties by country Parties by name Parties by ideology... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... This is a list of referenda related to the European Union. ... initiative, see Initiative (disambiguation). ... In U.S. politics, the initiative and referendum process is one of the signature reforms of the Progressive Era. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. ... Independence referendum is a type of referendum in which citizens of one territory would decide whether this territory should become independent country. ...

Specific referendums

Proposition 204, the Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act, is a ballot measure that will appear on the Arizona ballot this November 7, 2006. ... The referendum of 27 May 1967 approved two amendments to the Australian constitution relating to Indigenous Australians. ... The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement and, more rarely, as the Stormont Agreement) was a major political development in the Northern Ireland peace process. ... Bolivia held a referendum on the future of its natural gas reserves on Sunday, 18 July 2004. ... The Carinthian Plebiscite (Slovene Koroški plebiscit, German: Kärntner Volksabstimmung) on October 10, 1920 determined the border between Austria and the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) after World War I. In particular it divided Carinthia, formerly a province of Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, in... The two sectors of the divided island of Cyprus held a referendum on reunification on 24 April 2004. ... In 2005 the Labour run City of Edinburgh local authority held a referendum to seek approval for a road tolls scheme that they wished to introduce for those driving into the city of Edinburgh, as well as those who drove into the city centre from within the city boundaries. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... First page of Pobjeda, May 22, 2006. ... A referendum on whether Norway should introduce Prohibition was held on October 5 and 6, 1919. ... A consultative and facultative referendum on whether Norway should continue prohibition was held on October 18, 1926. ... A referendum on whether Norway should join the European Community was held on September 25, 1972. ... A referendum on whether Norway should join the European Union was held on November 28, 1994. ... The Panama Canal expansion referendum was held on October 22, 2006, when the citizens of Panama approved the Panama Canal expansion project by a wide margin. ... A nation-wide consultative referendum (全國性公民投票) was held in the Republic of China (Taiwan) on March 20, 2004 to coincide with the 2004 presidential election. ... The Venezuelan recall referendum of 15 August 2004 was a referendum to determine whether Hugo Chávez, the current President of Venezuela, should be recalled from office. ... The Scotland referendum of 1979 was a post-legislative referendum held in Scotland only, over whether there was support for Scotland Act 1978, which if passed would have created an assembly for Scotland. ... The Scotland referendum of 1997 was a pre-legislative referendum held in Scotland only, over whether there was support for the creation of an assembly for Scotland and whether there was support for an assembly with tax varying powers. ... A referendum on a proposed draft of the new Serbian constitution was held on October 28 and 29 October 2006 and has resulted in the draft constitution being approved by the Serbian electorate. ... The Spanish referendum on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was a referendum held on 20 February 2005, to ask whether Spain should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union. ... Tokelau will hold a United Nations-supervised referendum on self-determination from 11 February to 15 February, 2006. ... In a referendum on St Davids Day (March 1) 1979, the people of Wales voted against proposals by the Labour government of the United Kingdom to establish a Welsh Assembly. ... The Wales referendum of 1997 was a pre-legislative referendum held in Wales only over whether there was support for the creation of an assembly for Wales. ... On 29 May 2005 a referendum was held in France to decide whether the country should ratify the proposed Constitution of the European Union. ... Puerto Rican Status Referenda have been held four times to determine the political status of the island of Puerto Rico in relation to the United States of America. ... The 1980 Quebec referendum was the first referendum in Quebec on the role of Quebec within Canada and whether Quebec should pursue a path toward sovereignty. ... Bill on the referendum and eventual declaration of independence. ... The 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum occured on 21 November 2005 and was voted down by a 57% majority of Kenyan voters, with 3,548,477 people voting against a new constitution. ...

External links

  • OUR SAY - British campaign for national and local referendums
  • 'Referendums' - an article from the ACE Project
  • Different types of referendum - an article from the ACE Project
  • Designing Referendums - an article from the ACE Project
  • Direct Democracy - an article from the [http://www.aceproject.org ACE Project
  • Direct Democracy in Switzerland - an article from the ACE Project
  • The Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California
  • Direct Democracy portal at International IDEA
  • Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R Proposals and campaign resources for direct democracy such as citizens' initiative, referendum, and recall in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Matt Qvortrup article on European referendums
  • Nigel Smith
  • Initiative & Referendum Institute Europe
  • 2006 Proposition 204 Campaign in Arizona
  • Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy
  • Search engine for all national referena since 1791 (in German)
  • National Referenda Amendment
  • A Problem with Referendums Article by Dean Lacy and Emerson Niou.
  • On some basic properties of equilibria of voting with exit Article by Delors Berga, Gustavo Bergantiňos, Jordi Massó, and Alejandro Neme.
  • A Possibility Theorem on Aggregation over Multiple Interconnected Propositions Article by Christian List.
  • The Probability of Inconsistencies in Complex Collective Decisions Article by Christian List.
  • Collective Economic Decisions and the Discursive Paradox Article by Carl Andreas Claussen and Øistein Røisland.
  • Collective Decision Making without Paradoxes: A Fusion Approach Article by Gabriella Pigozzi.
  • Strategy-proof judgement aggregation Article by Franz Dietrich and Christian List.
  • Paradox of Multiple Election - the Probabilistic Approach Article by Mariusz Mazurkiewicz and Jacek W. Mercik.
  • Voting on Referenda:The Separability Problem and Possible Solutions Article by Steven J. Brams, D. Marc Kilgour, and William Zwicker.
  • The Paradox of Multiple Elections Article by Steven J. Brams, D. Marc Kilgour, and William Zwicker.
  • Plebiscite is also the name of a free online electronic voting system for little communities.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Referendum Commission (300 words)
The Referendum Commission is independent in its actions and is supported by a secretariat from the Office of the Ombudsman.
Whenever a referendum falls to be held the establishment of a Referendum Commission is at the discretion of the Minister for the Environment and Local Government.
The current primary role of the Referendum Commission is to explain the subject matter of referendum proposals, to promote public awareness of the referendum and to encourage the electorate to vote at the poll.
Referendum (618 words)
A referendum is the referring of a political question to an electorate for direct decision by general vote.
The terms referendum and plebiscite are commonly used interchangeably but the latter term specifically denotes a vote that is advisory or consultative rather than legally binding on the government.
Referendums do not easily fit in with the traditions of British parliamentary practice and are inherently polarizing, even impassioning, processes and thus are risky undertakings for governments.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m