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In a semi-direct consensus democracy, on the other hand, party competition is low because elections cannot lead to a change of roles between government and opposition. The system places its trust in the final control by the people over all important issues. Legitimacy comes from the most important decisions being taken by the people directly. Proportionality in elections and mutual adjustment in legislative decision-making favour the idea of ‘no single winner takes everything, everybody wins something’. In direct democracy, voting is on a single issue at a time, and each case produces different winning coalitions, which are barely foreseeable by the political elites. A popular vote, even when settling a fundamental issue, involves just one clear decision independent from the others. The Swiss government, free from the fear of not being re-elected, will not spend much time on programmatic strategy. The narrow limits of manoeuvre imposed by an all-party government and the permanent risk of a referendum defeat drastically curtail any effort to design comprehensive programmes and, at least in domestic policies, allow for incremental progress only.

- Swiss Democracy bu Wolf Linder

In the sentence I emphasized, what does "others" refer to? To other decisions? Or what? I cannot understand.

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"Others" refers to "other decisions". The sentence in bold could be expressed:

A popular vote, even when settling a fundamental issue, involves just one clear decision independent from the other decisions.

That is, a popular vote could be a "yes" or "no" choice, resolving one issue, which is therefore independent from other decisions on other issues.

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  • I agree, although I did wonder whether the sentence could be interpreted to mean other issues. – Ronald Sole Jan 12 at 12:15
  • I also went through the same thought process, but landed on other decisions which could be extended to other decisions on (other) issues essentially. – JMB Jan 12 at 12:44

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