The power to make law, and especially to reject it, is a measure of sovereignty. If the people have the power to demand that specific laws be made, or if they can refuse to accept proposals for new laws, this is known as direct democracy – the only true form of democracy. The most obvious and common mechanism for expressing such true democracy is the referendum. If the people are sovereign, they must be directly involved in law-making. Every law must have the consent of the people .
While I agree with the principle of involving citizens more directly in the decision making process, there is a reason that the representative democracy was developed. If law were to be passed only by the popular vote, the country would not move forward. Take taxation for example. If given the chance people would certainly choose not to pay any taxes, but without tax revenue, no system of government can survive. This goes to prove that the will of the many is not necessarily the most beneficial.
Nevertheless, it makes sense to limit the frequency of referendums. There are various mechanisms to address this, one of which could be for there to be a staturary period of 6 months after being approved by parliament for a law to take effect. In this period if the citizenry objects to a proposed law it has six months to garner a set minimum of petitions to trigger a referendum – this would ensure that uncontroversial laws can be legislated as a matter of routine .
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This content is created by the open source Your Priorities citizen engagement platform designed by the non profit Citizens Foundation