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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 ?
This popular initiative is usually presented as a precisely worded text that can't be changed.
Although uptake has so far been slow, those behind the project hope that the popular initiative vote on November 28--for the SVP's (Swiss People's Party) foreign-criminal deportation initiative, as well as the SP's (Social Democratic Party) taxation proposal--will encourage foreigners to sign up and add their voices to the debate.
Street lighting is one of the more popular initiatives for NRF money and we are facing a bottleneck as a result.
He further explained that the regional Administration is ready to encourage such popular initiatives.
The day's other popular initiatives did not enjoy such support.
Indeed, no other country in the world bestows upon its people the right to co-determine its political destiny like Switzerland, and popular initiatives such as this are regarded as the driving force behind this direct democracy.
The proponents of all seven popular initiatives came away empty handed at the ballot box at the recent round of referendums held on May 18, while the two proposals of the Swiss government garnered thumbs up from the citizenry.

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