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Chapter 5 describes this historical process in which the referendum became an institutional constraint that induced cooperation among all major political parties and led to negotiated legislation and mutual adjustment among interest groups.

- Swiss Democracy by Wolf Linder

There is a thing that is ambiguous to me. In the first glance I think the word induced and led to belongs to that. But in another reading of this sentence led to and became can belong to referendum as "in which referendum became ... and led to ...".

I want to know which one is true. Because in the first varian referendum is a constraint which led to negotiated legislation. I'm not sure how can a constraint lead to this.

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  • I don't see any ambiguity. That refers to the referendum, so your 'other reading' doesn't mean anything different. Commented Jan 19, 2021 at 9:14

2 Answers 2

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that is a relative pronoun: it connects together two clauses, and represents a noun in the main clause buy acting as the subject of object pronoun in the subordinate clause.

In this particular sentence, the subordinate clause comes in two parts, linked by and, and that represents referendum (which is also an institutional constraint) as the subject of the two parts of the subordinate clause.

main clause: Chapter 5 describes this historical process in which the referendum became an institutional constraint
subordinate clause pt1: that induced cooperation among all major political parties
subordinate clause pt2: that led to negotiated legislation and mutual adjustment among interest groups.

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It is the constraint that induced cooperation and led to negotiation and adjustment. It may not make a big difference, since the referendum became the constraint, but I think that links syntactically to the nearest preceding noun.

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