Types 2)–4) are fundamentally different from plebiscites. In those cases, a pre-defined class of government decision is always subject to a constitutionally required (mandatory) referendum;, or and citizens can, by petition, challenge government decisions (optional referenda) or even hand in their own proposals for constitutional or legislative reform (popular initiatives). The difference is that all these devices sanction or correct government policies and politics even when the government might not wish for popular interference. Under these institutional arrangements, direct democracy thus gives citizens an independent voice in politics and policies. This may be in accord with governmental policies, especially in the case of constitutionally required referenda. But the voice of the citizens can be, and often is, also raised against the government. To challenge government decisions in a selective way is the ‘natural’ use of popular referenda. The idea of ‘correcting’ representative democracy is further developed by the popular initiative, which allows the people to not only approve or reject government decisions, but also offers a group of citizens the chance to have their own propositions put to a popular vote.

- Swiss Democracy by Wolf Linder

I don't understand what does "in accord with" mean in this context? Does it mean: it is in favour of government in constitutionally required referenda cases?

1 Answer 1


In accord with means agreeing with. In this case the sentence means that the citizens' voice may agree with government policies, and this is more likely for constitutionally required referenda.

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