Referendums Should Be Abolished

Perspective Writers' Votes
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Democracies should not use referendums for policy decisions.

Pros
Cons
  • Referendums are inefficient and time-intensive.

  • The average citizen, unlike a professional politician, is not able to make well-grounded decisions about complex political subject matters.

  • Complex and potentially irreversible decisions are oversimplified by framing issues in the binary and asking voters to choose just one or the other.

  • Referendums create enormous costs for a variety of actors.

  • Referendums create or deepen political divisions within a society.

  • Referendums can lead to a tyranny of the majority.

  • Referendums give more political influence to the media, actors who lack the legitimacy of elected representatives.

  • The people, as the sovereign, must have the right to directly influence political decisions.

  • Referendums are an effective measure to reduce the influence of private interests and lobbying.

  • Decisions taken via referendums tend to be perceived as more legitimate and find more acceptance in the population than decisions derived in other ways.

  • Referendums strengthen the voters' position and therefore the foundation of democratic systems.

  • The motion is too strong. In many instances referendums have proved to be a useful democratic decision tool and to produce positive results. The concerns about the possible misuse of referendums, raised by Brexit, can be addressed by restricting or regulating (not abolishing) them.

  • Referendums encourage more popular political engagement.

  • Referendums provide a way to settle contentious issues when elected officials are unable to make a decision.