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Should Referendums Be Abolished?
Decisions taken via referendums tend to be perceived as more legitimate and find more acceptance in the population than decisions derived in other ways.
People are more willing to accept a result when they feel they had a role in making it.
Referendums provide an important check on political decision-making between elections by ensuring that key changes only take place with popular support.
The people are the final source of legitimacy in a democracy. Thus, decisions made by them have greater legitimacy than decisions made for them by representatives.
When the majority vote is decisive, it gives the government a clear mandate to act in accordance with the referendum decision.
Referendums are unable to capture the complexity of
non separable preferences
, which many voters might have. Therefore referendums may produce unstable collective choices that are opposed by a significant amount of voters (
More 'legitimacy' can lead to the dogmatic believe that what the majority of voters voted for is the (only) right choice while this 'legitimacy' is solely based on an 'ad populum' fallacy.
Referendums do not enable compromises, as only one side wins. This can lead to a political division of a country.
If participation in a referendum is low its result can be seen as illegitimate.