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Should all major political decisions be made via public referendum?
Referendums can legitimize major political decisions.
In Ireland, the increasing separation of church and state has been legitimised by a series of referendums that showed there was
strong popular support for the move.
Where the issue is important to the public it is likely that this will be reflected in high voter turnout, which grants legitimacy to the decision.
It is important for governments to know they have support when they make a major decision or else they have a higher risk of the public turning on them in the middle of the initiative.
Politicians can phrase referendum questions in ways which make results more beneficial towards their agenda.
Referendums frequently end with a lack of clarity on how a country should move forward.
Politicians can decide to call referendums at politically convenient times and use them to justify decisions even when public will is no longer in their favor.
If 'legitimacy' is given to a policy because it reflects the will of the people, then by virtue of the fact that policy makers are elected, the policy decisions they make are already legitimised.
The outcome of the referendum is not based on the referendum question, but other factors.