(redirected from Popular referendum)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.


the originating of a law or constitutional amendment by popular petition. It is intended to allow the electorate to initiate legislation independently of the legislature. This direct form of legislation, together with the referendumreferendum,
referral of proposed laws or constitutional amendments to the electorate for final approval. This direct form of legislation, along with the initiative, was known in Greece and other early democracies.
..... Click the link for more information.
, was known in Greece and other early democracies. It is practiced in Switzerland. In the United States the initiative was recognized as early as 1777 in the first constitution of Georgia. It was subsequently adopted by a number of states and may apply also on local and city government levels. There are two kinds of initiative, direct and indirect. In both kinds of initiative a certain number of signatures (usually from 5% to 15% of the electorate in the district concerned) must appear on the petition that proposes the constitutional amendment or legislation. In direct initiative the proposed law is voted on in the next election, or in a special election, after a petition with the required number of signatures has been filed with state or local officials. In indirect initiative the petition goes directly to the legislature and reaches the people only if the legislature fails to enact it into law. In the 1990s ballot initiatives became increasingly popular as various interest groups sought to win approval of measures they supported.


See P. Schrag, Paradise Lost (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


a. the right or power to introduce legislation, etc., in a legislative body
b. the procedure by which citizens originate legislation, as in many American states and Switzerland
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
From a democratic perspective, Norway's experience accentuates the need to clarify the role of popular referendums in settling thorny questions of EU membership given deeply interwoven states.
Popular Referendum or Popular Veto: Measures that can overturn or veto a law passed by the legislature.
BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday called on voters to make May 6 a day for a popular referendum. Speaking to local municipality heads and mukhtars from Sidon-Zahrani at his south Lebanon residence in Msayleh, Berri said, "We do not want May 6 to be a regular vote ...
9 the representatives from Alliance for the Happiness of Future Generations also submitted a proposal to the Central Election Commission to call for a popular referendum that could potentially overrule the Constitutional Court's decision.
Al-Kuzbari went to say that any amendments to the current constitution should be made either by forming a committee by the legislative authority (the People's Assembly) or by a presidential decree, and that the outcome of this committee's work, regardless of how it is formed, is subject to a popular referendum, pointing out that "nothing will happen unless under the provisions of the current constitution, which the people voted on in 2012, i.e., the constitution will be drafted by the Syrians only and on Syrian soil."
While this agreeement was narrowly rejected in a popular referendum, a revised agreement was approved by Colombia's congress on November 24, 2016.
Senator Lilian Samaniego of Cartes's Colorado Party said the president's allies would continue to seek approval from the lower house, though a popular referendum would be required for reelection to be implemented.
In one election debate, she said she would call a popular referendum on whether to continue with the bid.
Cameron has announced British membership in the EU will be put to a ( popular referendum by the end of 2017.
Ireland became the only country to approve marriage equality by popular referendum. Before the vote, the country already allowed civil partnerships for same-sex couples, and in April the government extended adoption eligibility to such couples.
What is unique about this dubious distinction is the fact that this was achieved through a popular referendum of the Irish citizens.
He said the only body entitled to look into postponement of elections is the legislature and that this would come through an initiative from the supremacy bodies and the adoption of a number of constitutional measures, referring the matter to a popular referendum.