Obligatory Referendum

Obligatory Referendum (LOR+)

This direct democracy procedure is triggered automatically by law (usually the constitution) which requires that certain issues must be put before the voters for approval or rejection.  A conditional obligatory referendum means that a specified issue must be put to the ballot only under certain conditions (for example, in Denmark the delegation of powers to international authorities is decided by popular vote if more than half but less than four-fifths of the parliament accept such a bill, and if the government maintains it). Unconditional referendums are without loopholes (for example, in Switzerland changes to the constitution must always be decided by a popular vote).


Designates a certain type of popular vote procedure (see –> Typology). The referendum is a direct democracy procedure which includes a popular vote on an issue (ballot proposal) such as, for example, a constitutional amendment or a bill; the voters have the right to either accept or reject the ballot proposal.

The procedure is triggered either by law (–> obligatory referendum) or by a specified number of citizens (–> popular referendum). Note: a popular vote procedure, which is triggered and controlled exclusively by the authorities, is not a referendum but a plebiscite.

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