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A process of a participatory democracy that empowers the people to propose legislation and to enact or reject the laws at the polls independent of the lawmaking power of the governing body.

The purpose of an initiative, which is a type of election commenced and carried out by the people, is to permit the electorate to resolve questions where their elected representatives fail to do so or refuse to proceed with a change that the public desires.

See: initial, original, overture, preparatory, rudimentary

INITIATIVE, French law. The name given to the important prerogative given by the charte constitutionelle, art. 16, to the late king to propose through his ministers projects of laws. 1 Toull. n. 39. See Veto.

References in periodicals archive ?
In such cases, it acts, according to the gravity and urgency of the humanitarian needs observed, on the basis of the humanitarian right of initiative laid down in the statutes of the International Red Cross and accepted by the states.
So that it can play its role as guardian of the treaties and defender of the general interest, the Commission has been given a right of initiative in the legislative process, proposing the legislation on which the European Parliament and the Council decide.