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Should all major political decisions be made via public referendum?
Some major political decisions require specialised knowledge that the average citizen does not have.
A survey in 2016 found that "
" was the top reason young people in Switzerland gave for not voting in referendums.
Foreign policy and security decisions are often made based on confidential information which, if made public, could pose security concerns. As such, it is better to not have these decisions made by referendum.
Economic policy is often made based on information provided by expert advisors. It is better to rely on this expertise, rather than a public vote, for important economic policies.
Brexit is a
which makes it difficult for voters to make an informed opinion on it.
Reducing political decisions to a binary yes or no leads to worse decisions
Websites such as
allow people to educate themselves and fact-check arguments from referendum campaigns.
Independent bodies can be set up which provide information to the public on the referendum issue.
Politicians also do not have the expertise to make these decisions.
Important policy decisions are often not technical questions but
involve questions of preferences or balancing priorities / interests
. (Pg 4)
In an ideal world there would be a period of public debate about the referendum's question, leading to better understanding by the public.